previously noted (see story), the U.S. has a long way to
go to win the battle of the minds in the Middle East. A
recent Defense Science Board report,
Communication,” says the U.S. is failing to adequately
explain its actions in the Muslim world. It adds that
the government’s strategic communications institutions
do not work and recommends an overhaul of the country’s
public affairs structure.
cites the lack of a credible communications link to the
Muslim world as the largest challenge facing the U.S.
and calls for a permanent structure to be built in the
executive branch - with an “information czar” named to
the National Security Council, State Department and
communication vehicles have been in place for a few
years, such as Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV, the report
says that these stations are not trusted by the Muslim
community in the Middle East, but considered to be
propaganda arms of the U.S. government.
The very fact
that these stations receive funding from the U.S.
government causes many people to doubt the veracity of
their reporting. While a recent AC Nielsen survey
reported that 71 percent of Alhurra viewers believe the
news programming to be reliable, the report from the
Defense Science Board is not as optimistic.
critical problem in American public diplomacy directed
toward the Muslim world is not one of 'dissemination of
information' or even one of crafting and delivering the
'right' message. Rather it is a fundamental problem of
credibility. Simply, there is none - the United States
today is without a working channel of communication to
the world of Muslims and of Islam," according to the