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It was just over a year ago that Karen Hughes, then nominee for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before her swift appointment as the nation's chief public diplomat. Striking all the right chords along the way, Hughes affirmed that "the mission of public diplomacy is to engage, inform, and help others (read 'foreign populations') understand our policies, actions and values.

Some Worldcasting readers are said to take issue with our most recent piece contending that the Fox News Channel is a key player in U.S. public diplomacy. A great misperception is that FNC is solely a domestic U.S. cable news service, with minimal foreign distribution. But Fox News Channel is not only international in scope, it is in fact broadcast in 88 countries worldwide.

The U.S. foreign policy machine has been churning out a lot of bad ideas lately. To what do we owe this increased supply of bad ideas? Is it mainly the fault of the current foreign policy team? The permanent foreign policy apparatchiks? Where do all these bad ideas come from?

The short answer is, "all of the above." Bad ideas are not just the fault of the Bush officials that control the White House, State Department and Defense, although to them goes the lion share of responsibility for providing and enacting really bad ideas about foreign policy.

The Fox News Channel, buoyed by its new huge audience ratings and profits, is expanding its influence as a credible source for news and articulator of U.S. public diplomacy, through huge viewership on its coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war.

This article is interesting because it demonstrates an increasing Chinese understanding of spin and damage control, something suggesting a more sophisticated style of diplomacy.

From China Daily:

The letter of President Ahmadinejad to President Bush, its wide range of topics on different context and in various dimensions, deserves detailed discussions by the people of knowledge and experience in the related fields. The purpose of this writing however, is not to analyze and judge the content of the letter, rather it's a small contribution to ring the bell that the noopolitik is already on its dawn, at the doorstep of the new century, and people of creeds and values should not miss the opportunity.

Napa Valley, CA -- As someone who lives and breathes Middle East politics and media, I have had the strange -- and frustrating -- experience of watching the current conflict play out on U.S. cable television. I am reminded again why Americans have such a limited -- and distorted -- view of the world.

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