Public Diplomacy

"Won't Back Down" Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal

-- by Mary Bottari and Sara Jerving

Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation's education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film "Won't Back Down" -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called "Parent Trigger" laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

Can Brats Build Bridges in Wisconsin?

On June 12, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held the "Beer and Brat Summit," touted as an effort to bring lawmakers from both parties together, although some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle found reasons not to attend this PR event. Brats are a Wisconsin tradition but even they have become politicized over the past year with one of the major brat makers financially backing Walker's political campaign.

Walker's PR Plan to Use Beer and Brats

Ninety-eight state lawmakers -- 60 Republicans, 37 Democrats and one independent -- said they planned to attend the event, which offered a spread of beer, brats, and other specialties from the Dairy State.

ALEC Politician Claims ALEC Meetings Are "Open to the Public." Really?

Confronted with a report by ProgressVA stating that through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate lobbyists get access to legislators "behind closed doors," ALEC politician Bill Howell dismissed the claim and told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that all ALEC meetings were open to the public.


That would be breaking news to both traditional press and the online media that have been blocked from ALEC meetings and are increasingly being threatened with arrest.

Spinning Israeli Settlements

The Israel Project, "the organization spearheading Israel's public relations efforts in the United States," recently released its 2009 Global Language Dictionary, authored by Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Israel's PR Crisis

"Six months after Israel launched a 22-day offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip that killed more than 1400 Palestinians, the country has faced one of the worst public relations crises," reports The Age.

Pentagon Told to Take a Back Seat on Public Diplomacy

"To distance itself from past practices that some military officers called propaganda," the Obama administration closed the Defense Department's office for support to public diplomacy.

Wooing the World via the Web

"We've barely scratched the surface as to what we can use to communicate with people around the world," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told department staffers, arguing for greater and more innovative use of the Internet.

Debating the Ban on Domestic Propaganda

"I want to make sure that we strengthen prohibitions against domestic covert propaganda campaigns aimed essentially at breaking down the Constitutional barriers between who controls policy and who makes war," stressed Representative Paul Hodes. "It's an important point, given the recent history."

Rep. Hodes was speaking at a conference on public diplomacy, held in Washington, DC on January 13. Public diplomacy is a catch-all term for the various ways in which the United States promotes itself to international audiences (as opposed to "regular" diplomacy, which targets foreign governments). These include international media, like the Voice of America; cultural and educational exchanges, such as the Fulbright Program; and a wide range of information activities, including foreign press centers, speaking events and publications. As the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy notes, the term "was developed partly to distance overseas governmental information activities from the term propaganda, which had acquired pejorative connotations."

Military Matters and Public Diplomacy Urgent, Says GAO

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, has released its list of "urgent," "critical" and "time sensitive" policy concerns for President-elect Barack Obama and the new Congress. Several are military-related, such as the "U.S.

Public Diplomacy 2.0

After several months offline, former U.S. Foreign Service officer John Brown has reactivated his "Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review," which summarizes current news about public relations efforts by the United States and other countries.

Syndicate content