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    New State Dept. "Fact Sheets" Push More Government, More Spending on Foreign Aid

    Recently, The Heritage Foundation reported that the State Department is making major changes to its venerable series of “Background Notes”—transforming them from useful reference materials into a new “fact sheet” format that, in reality, is more often than not just a puff sheet for the Obama Administration’s foreign policy accomplishments. … More

    $50 Million Government Polling Contract with Gallup Attracts Scrutiny

    An example of government waste and bad planning—the exorbitantly expensive Gallup Organization contract with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)—is finally coming under a long-overdue review. At a time when language service after language service of Voice of America, this country’s primary public diplomacy tool, is under threat of being … More

    State Department Website Morphs into the World According to Obama

    The State Department is continuing to edit its website into a more Obama-centric story of the world. As reported by The Heritage Foundation’s Jim Roberts, the State Department three months ago changed the format of one of its better products, the country-by-country Background Notes to a format allegedly more in … More

    Red Tape Tangles Aid to Iranian Victims

    U.S. government red tape is preventing American Iranians from sending much-needed aid to the thousands of victims of Saturday’s two earthquakes in northern Iran, aid organizations say. The earthquake killed 300 people and injured thousands in northern Iran. Food and material aid are desperately needed, but aid organizations are telling … More

    Morning Bell: Obama Edits Official State Department Documents to Tout Himself

    Inserting himself into the biographies of past presidents on the White House website apparently wasn’t enough for President Obama. His State Department is now editing its descriptions of foreign countries into yet another taxpayer-subsidized campaign commercial for the Obama Administration. The State Department has recently ended its long-running series of … More

    Obama Transforms State Department "Background Notes" Into Campaign Material

    Production by U.S. embassies of the State Department’s long-running series of annual “Background Notes” covering every country in the world had long been considered a useful service for the American public. Now, however, they appear to have morphed into yet another taxpayer-subsidized campaign commercial for the Obama Administration. The old … More

    Public Diplomacy Mission: Defining America as a Resilient Nation Built on Individual Dreams

    In a recent speech to the American Security Project, Tara Sonenshine, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, laid out her vision for her tenure in office. “I always begin with, well, what is this nation about?” she said. Most people hesitate to go there, presumably for fear of offending this … More

    International Religious Freedom Report: Time to Back Up Tough Talk with Tough Actions

    Yesterday, the State Department issued its 2011 International Religious Freedom Report, which represents the culmination of an annual review the State Department must undertake pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). However, other than exhorting countries that are egregious violators of religious liberties (as defined in IRFA) … More

    Americans Deserve to Know What the U.S. Government Is Broadcasting

    Americans deserve transparency about what their government is doing, as long as that transparency doesn’t threaten national security. Transparency should also be the guiding principle of the State Department’s public diplomacy and U.S. international broadcasting. But since 1948, the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act, also know as the Smith–Mundt … More

    State Department Still Balking on Calling Out Terrorists in Nigeria

    There is some confusion in Foggy Bottom as to how the United States ought to define Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group based in northern Nigeria. Last week, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, calling Boko Haram a “terrorist organization.” Yet … More