Writing about the first foreign tour by US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen P. Hughes (dubbed US Minister for Propaganda by no less an authority than the Financial Times), New York Times reporter Steven R. Weisman breaks from the party line about the wonderful free press in the US, and the benighted press in the third world:
On Mideast ‘Listening Tour,’ the Question Is Who’s Hearing: She [Hughes] addressed several policies, but in concise sound bites rather than sustained arguments. In American campaigns, such messages repeated over and over can have an effect because a presidential candidate dominates the news with every statement he makes, and if that fails to work, money can be poured into saturation advertising.
By contrast, in the lively and percussive environment of this region, Ms. Hughes came nowhere near the commanding heights of the media.
Got that? In the US, during elections — the time it matters most — government propaganda is parroted reflexively by the media, and if for some reason they don’t toe the line, say a young white woman is missing, people with enough money can nonetheless drum it into the public by endless repetition on TV.
Strangely, that doesn’t work in Egypt, in Turkey, in Qatar, or even in … Saudi Arabia.
Update: Could be because they don’t have real elections there?