Congressional negotiators on Wednesday approved an initiative to track and combat foreign propaganda amid growing concerns that Russian efforts to spread “fake news” and disinformation threaten U.S. national security. The measure, part of the National Defense Authorization Act approved by a conference committee, calls on the State Department to lead governmentwide efforts to identify propaganda and counter its effects. The authorization is for $160 million over two years.
Richard Stengel, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy, bluntly states the problem that has been worrying him and should worry us all: “In a global information war, how does the truth win?” The very idea that the truth won’t be triumphant would, until recently, have been heresy to Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine.
It didn't take a divisive presidential election to get Mark Chester interested in immigrants. Chester has been celebrating immigrants for years, making it his mission to photograph two people from every nation. Chester is well on his way. Since 2011, he's photographed people from 185 of the world's 196 countries, all of them immigrants who have settled in Massachusetts, a state he affectionately calls "a mini United Nations."
Lawmakers and U.S. officials who have championed foreign aid, democracy and human rights fear that President-elect Donald Trump will financially and rhetorically cripple America's non-military influence around the world — damage that could prove harder to repair than the kind inflicted by George W. Bush's use of torture. [...] His victory was so shocking that some stakeholders now wonder if the Trump era will mark the end of America's "soft power."