Jul 28, 2007

Mountain Runner Breaks Out

[T]his post seems as good as any to create a new category on "public affairs" to focus on IO focused on US domestic audiences, a topic I had lumped into PD [public diplomacy] for simplicity.

Ken Silverstein follows up on a previous post of his about...

a program run by the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs. This program seeks to bypass the mainstream press by working directly with a carefully culled list of military analysts, bloggers, and others who can be counted on to parrot the Bush Administration’s line on national security issues.

I'm a milblogger, off the beaten path, but still a milblogger. Heck, I'm even card-carrying (not much a profile, I know, but still...). Well, perhaps I won't parrot somebody's line (unless I agree 100%), so I might not have what Silverstein sees as entry creds.

Not to restate the obvious, but OPA isn't practicing "Public Affairs" as much as "Private Affairs" because, well, they aren't exactly reaching out the public. I remember debates within the "public diplomacy" crowd that said if it ain't wide open, it ain't "public diplomacy". We know there are similar debates in the PA community. Remember OSI?

If PA is used to speak directly to the US public (PA officers speak to foreign publics, but nevermind that for now) and they have an inherent responsibility to tell the truth, what part of the truth is absent from the OPA conference calls that a simple guy like me can't be in on?

What does this say about the current purpose of PA? Where does it fit into Strategic Communications, that concept that may be DOD's answer to Public Diplomacy, a concept that is so poorly defined and executed that a new "theory" of "smart power" is required to return PD to its roots? But perhaps I digress....

- All of the above shamelessly jacked & slightly hacked from Mountain Runner. Also of interest is the lagging commentary...er, droopy lidded Cannoneerisms aka blepharoptosis sententia supervacuus found at the post's original locus.

And don't miss out on Mountain Runner's follow-up post.

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