As my colleague, Khodi Akhavi, points out today in an article entitled “Neo-Cons Spinning Hearts and Minds,” neo-conservatives are gaining greater control over the U.S. public diplomacy even as they have lost influence in other parts of the national-security bureaucracy. Jeffrey Gedmin, previously with head of the Aspen Institute’s Berlin office and before that a colleague of Richard Perle at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has taken over Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which now includes responsibility for Radio Farda, the U.S. government station that broadcasts to Iran, while the Wall Street Journal editorial page has succeeded in forcing out Larry Register, a 20-year veteran producer at CNN, as head of al-Hurra, the U.S. satellite television station that broadcasts to the Arab world.
Just today, Marc Lynch, who is quoted in the article and a very helpful observer of the Arab media scene, noted the following in his weblog, http://abuaardvark.typepad.com, regarding Al-Hurra.
“Yesterday I got a press release from al-Hurra announcing the guest of the upcoming episode of Robert Satloff’s “Inside Washington”, complete with a transcript of the program. That’s good – as long as I’ve been writing about the absence of transparency at the station, as best as I can recall this is the first transcript of any kind I’ve ever been offered by al-Hurra. On the other hand, the featured guest was… John Bolton. Bolton, of course, is particularly disliked in the Arab world, and his complaints about anti-American bias at the UN will repel more Arab viewers than it could hope to impress. But the Wall Street Journal loves him… and of course that’s the only audience which really matters for al-Hurra anymore.”