Hear no evil …

by Henry Farrell on December 7, 2005

From Jefferson Morley’s “World Opinion Round-Up”:http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/worldopinionroundup/2005/12/killing_the_mes.html at the _Post_.

bq. Has the United States government decided that Americans don’t care about what the world thinks of their country? You might get that impression from the State Department’s Web site. Last week the department stopped posting surveys of how the international press is covering significant developments in U.S. foreign policy. Based on reporting from U.S. embassies around the world, the surveys quoted newspaper and broadcast reports in just about every language. … No more. The Web address of the Office of Media Reaction — “usinfo.state.gov/products/medreac.htm”:usinfo.state.gov/products/medreac.htm — now yields a “page not found” error. The archive of past surveys is also unavailable. The page states, “The USINFO website is undergoing significant design changes.” There’s a link to the surveys from the main State Department press page, but it’s dead. The changes involve more than just the “design,” according to a State Department official who spoke on the condition he not be identified. “The USINFO.state.gov Web site is directed, by law, at foreign audiences. It doesn’t make sense for us to put up what foreign newspapers are saying,” he said.



Mycroft 12.07.05 at 4:12 pm

About time the State Department stopped putting manhours into this sort of thing. Anybody who wants to find out what the foreign press is saying about us can go online — there’s no need for a separate collating service.


Brendan 12.07.05 at 5:03 pm

What is this ‘foreign’? You mean, everywhere isn’t America?


John Quiggin 12.07.05 at 6:27 pm

That puzzled me too Brendan. And, as mycroft points out, no sensible American would want to find out what was being written in foreign languages. The few who do are doubtless fluent in all relevant languages, or, thanks to the internets, can rely on machine translations.


bert 12.07.05 at 6:41 pm

No clippings from the Iraqi press? I hear that’s been reassuringly favourable recently.


jet 12.07.05 at 7:33 pm

I’m glad the spin doctors at the State Department have given this up. Enough of their cherry picking articles making US citizens think the world hates us and believes we’re wrong in Iraq. Because everyone knows right now the world couldn’t be more interested in the US. And that’s always a good thing, right?


Henry 12.07.05 at 7:40 pm

jet – you’re just trolling for outraged responses, right?


jet 12.07.05 at 8:05 pm

I guess that last sentence wasn’t clear enough….sigh.


jet 12.07.05 at 8:12 pm

Err, last two sentences….I guess I should have been clearer. I forget that it is not obvious here that the State Department is not a tool of corruption and does a half way decent job.

Either way, I thought it was clear that the first two sentences were sarcasm. But let me be clear, it is a Bad ThingTM that US citizens have even less idea how they are perceived in the world.


Brett Bellmore 12.07.05 at 8:50 pm

Heck, if you look at their bit on the Bill of Rights, you’ll see that the essay on the right to keep and bear arms has been pulled for “review” for over a year now, ever since somebody pointed out they were relying on Bellesiles’ fraud.


I think they’re just not maintaining their website.


Henry 12.07.05 at 9:07 pm

OK – fair enough. Sarcasm sometimes doesn’t come through on the Internet.


jet 12.08.05 at 8:24 am

Fair enough? Maybe I just need to sanity check what I write for clarity so I don’t piss off people when I’m trying to agree with them.


nick s 12.08.05 at 1:20 pm

Anybody who wants to find out what the foreign press is saying about us can go online—there’s no need for a separate collating service.

Except that State is still preparing its round-ups of the foreign press, just not publishing it. Which is nice.

But are you offering to take over, mycroft?

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