voice of america

Are the BBG and VOA doomed?

Amanda Bennett

Amanda Bennett says she is "all journalist and no diplomat."

The U.S. government desperately needs new and better tools to fight the information war against the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist networks. Once such new tool, The United States International Communications Reform Act (H.R. 2323), which was passed last May by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, remains in waiting mode and is pending a full House vote and Senate action.

John E. Reinhardt, who in 1971 became the first black U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and in 1977 the first career diplomat to lead the U.S. Information Agency, died Feb. 18 at a retirement community in Silver Spring, Md. He was 95. [...] Mr. Reinhardt led a transition for the organization, which had been renamed the International Communication Agency and included Voice of America broadcasts in addition to public-diplomacy outreach programs.

Secretary of State John Kerry met with Hollywood studio chiefs in Los Angeles on Tuesday to discuss various topics including Islamic State. Kerry uploaded a photo of the meeting on Twitter, saying, "Great convo w studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative." 

International Harvester Tractor Radio

Dan Robinson makes the case for saying, "So long."

The Voice of America and the U.S. international broadcasting community as a whole could use structural reform and more money. But that’s not why they appear to be failing miserably. No. The real failure is that they lack conviction. And without that, they will continue to appear irrelevant.

U.S. needs more money for more soft power outreach abroad, but Congress and President must first reform Broadcasting Board of Governors. [...] We don't spend enough money on U.S. government propaganda abroad now, and we did not spend enough money on it during the Cold War, but we were spending money and getting the message across much more effectively during the Cold War than we do now.