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There's a boom in the popularity of Arab songs on the most successful channels in the Middle East. The digital music marketplace is very technically advanced, and U.S. government broadcasting isn't keeping pace.
Apart from the news channels which carry on the war of ideas, many in Arab countries would rather watch video clips of Pussy Samir, a singer/dancer, and Boozy Samir (no relation perhaps, but also a singer/dancer), on the "Melody Hits" satellite channel and website, among many others like it.
We are being told how very "personal" communication is to become, with carefully-coiffed 60-second video messages containing content just for you or me, downloaded to our picture cell phones, or personal digital assistants, PDAs -- the instruments, not the individuals.
One might wonder where U.S. public diplomacy fits into all this? Right now, it doesn't appear to be a good fit overall.
When I was new to Washington and interviewing for a job way back when, I asked a friend on the Hill to be a reference.
"Sure," he said. "I'll be for you or against you, whichever does you the most good."
It was an attempt at humor, of course, but humor is often a spoof on reality.
For example, when the Nixon administration complained about Dan Rather's reporting to his bosses at CBS News, Rather's career took off. He was controversial and high profile, a newsmaker himself, and a good candidate for news anchor to generate ratings and advertising dollars.
The other night an email flashed across my screen with a catchy subject line: "BBC: Oye." It could only mean one thing: the BBC had shot itself in the foot, again.
Business was brisk this month at the annual MIP international TV program festival in Cannes, France - the best of such fests.
MIP-TV is the global TV marketplace where the rage last week was "made-for-mobile" content for picture cell phones, so that kids can watch shows like Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine while strapped in their car seats or walking along the sidewalk.
Whether by divine providence or a quirk of fate, the most charismatic Pope ever, who was made for television, came along just at the right time, when technology would finally make him available to all of the people all of the time.
At the British Chihuahua Club's 2005 competition a little dog named Diella Blonde with Attitude won the "Limit Bitch (Longhair)" award, all of which just goes to show that our friends across the pond go about things by tradition in their own way. And also by tradition, we Yanks are often perceived by them as well, you know, uncouth.
Journalists are shocked, shocked to find government videos on local TV newscasts; Karen Hughes, meet Mike McCurry.
There are two big public diplomacy stories this week that are at odds with each other.
One is that the U.S. government has failed miserably in getting its story out to the world, that’s why people hate us, and Karen Hughes is the only one who can save the day.
People, Places, Power | Season 2, Episode 33: What’s in a Name? Renaming Places as a Strategic Gambit
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