Talk:United States Information Agency

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Propaganda[edit]

Yeesh! This reads as if it were written by the Ministry of Propaganda—which, of course, is what the USIA was, Edward R. Murrow or no Edward R. Murrow.

"Public diplomacy..." what gobbledegook. "To understand, inform and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest." Drop the word "understand" and you have a definition of the word "propaganda."

OK, I added a first paragraph which acknowledge's the relative truthfulness of the USIA's material while making sure that the word "propaganda" is not missing from the article. Dpbsmith 04:18, 14 Dec 2003 (UTC)

P. S. The dictionary defines propaganda as "The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause."

P. P. S. I can't say I had actually encountered the euphemism "public diplomacy" before. I ran across this page because I mentioned the USIA in a note in an article on MIT and was checking the link. But further investigation confirms my impressions. According to an article at [1]

As U.S.-Soviet tensions eased, America's anti-propaganda attitude quickly resurfaced, and a new term was used to describe the USIA's mission: "public diplomacy." This term was first coined in the mid-1960s by Dean Edmund A. Gullion of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Explaining the origin of the term, Gullion wrote (1967) that:
"Even beyond the organ of the Government set up to handle information about the United States and to explain our policies, what is important today is the interaction of groups, peoples, and cultures beyond national borders, influencing the way groups and peoples in other countries think about foreign affairs, react to our policies, and affect the policies of their respective governments.
"To connote this activity, we at the Fletcher School tried to find a name. I would have liked to call it 'propaganda.' It seemed like the nearest thing in the pure interpretation of the word to what we were doing. But 'propaganda' has always a pejorative connotation in this country. To describe the whole range of communications, information, and propaganda, we hit upon 'public diplomacy'."

So, indeed, "public diplomacy" was coined as a euphemism for "propaganda." Dpbsmith 04:27, 14 Dec 2003 (UTC)

2008 discussion[edit]

Regardless of whatever historical connotations it once had or how the word came about, public diplomacy is NOT the same as propaganda or public relations. The military is practicing propaganda with satellite channels and truth bomb flyers. Planting a military experts on CNN is propaganda. Public diplomacy is opening up English language libraries in the embassy or putting up free concerts. French efforts at promoting its language is a kind of public diplomacy. Japan's efforts at sending teachers overseas and bringing American/Western students to Japan to teach is another. So unless you think every free concert/culture event on Dupont Circle constitutes propaganda intended to brainwash unsuspecting and hungry interns, you need to think again on presenting "public diplomacy" as the same as propaganda, however technically correct, is misleading.

Under subheading "Public diplomacy and propaganda":

"In the years following these earlier views, some U.S. Government officials and others contended that U.S. public diplomacy programs are not propaganda. Others still contend, however, that since propaganda can be based on fact, public diplomacy can be equated with propaganda i.e. ideas, information, or other material disseminated to win people over to a given doctrine. If based on falsehoods and untruths, while still propaganda, it is best described as "disinformation." [2]

However technical one may get about the term propaganda; it is undeniable that the word itself has a hugely negative connotation in the mind of an average person. The word itself implies dishonesty, of which is not relevant in defining the USIA. It is anyone's prerogative to question the USIA's intent, effectiveness, or morality, but under a subheading like "Role of USIA", "Ethics of (American) Public Diplomacy,", and etc. It is dishonest to sneak in judgment of a reasonable and ethically sound aspect of any diplomat's effort, American or foreign, in advancing his or her nation's interest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.144.190.115 (talkcontribs)

It is POV to claim outright that the agency produced propaganda, I will admit. But it is also POV to claim that it did not. Coverage of the debate is what is needed. I'm also not convinced that we should shy away from the term propaganda simply because people mis-understand it: propaganda can provide useful, factual advice, and it is better to explain that. Providing examples will allow readers to make up their own minds.
To start throwing examples in, I came on this article through Ed Murrow's broadcast "The Challenge of Ideas"; note its description of the US Navy's purpose and the use of John Wayne to make an appeal to notoriety in particular. You'll also find the USIA name-checked at Propaganda#Cold_War_propaganda --Tom Edwards (talk) 15:09, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Here is another example of propaganda with a factually-accurate message. The caricature is obviously grotesque and a racial slur, but there is no dishonesty or trickery in the idea that working less benefits the enemy. --Tom Edwards (talk) 15:25, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

So, “propaganda can provide useful, factual advice”. And, “Here is another example of propaganda with a factually-accurate message”. Some first-rate examples of propaganda - with a misleading/inaccurate message. Is it not sad that, even in 2014, Big Brother style mis-information is still with us? 89.243.162.140 (talk) 10:12, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Clinton as Fulbrighter[edit]

I think that the menion of Bill Clinton as a Fulbright recipient is incorrect. Clinton received a Fulbright Prize from the Fulbright alumni association in 2005, but this is not the same as receiving a Fulbright scholarship from USIA. I'm going to delte this line--which, besides, strikes me as oddly defnesive and non-NPOV. -Hickoryhillster 15:42, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Information Agency Time Plus - Information Referral Service[edit]

I removed Information Agency Time Plus - Information Referral Service, is the trusted source for business information, international market research, service from across the world. as I do not see the relevance, and it is copied verbatim from their website, and it is not neutral POV, and, it really makes no statement... whoever added this, was there some reason? I don't get what Information Agency Time Plus has to do with the US Ministry of Propaganda. User:Pedant 22:55, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

How To Stop Worrying and Learn To Love Dis-information[edit]

“propaganda can provide useful, factual advice”.(Talk comment)

Is this another example of propaganda with a factually-inaccurate message?

89.240.208.73 (talk) 21:10, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Try reading Bernays's Propaganda. Propaganda merely propagates information. The cynicism evident in your comment was constructed post-World War II.
Also, WP:NOTAFORUM. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:22, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Considering the ideas of Edward Bernays (and Walter Lippmann) was that "cynicism" really mis-placed? Now, as for "propaganda with a factually-accurate message"... 78.147.84.52 (talk) 20:59, 25 July 2014 (UTC)