Hillary Clinton was defending her department budget in front of the U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities committee this morning on C-Span.
She says a major reason the State Department needs money is because "we are in an information war and we are losing that war."
Clinton said private media is not good enough to handle the job: "Our private media cannot fill that gap. Our private media, particularly cultural programming often works at counter purposes to what we truly are as Americans. I remember having an Afghan general tell me that the only thing he thought about Americans is that all the men wrestled and the women walked around in bikinis because the only TV he ever saw was Baywatch and World Wide Wrestling."
Meanwhile she says Al-Jazeera, CCTV and Russia Today are killing it: "Al Jazeera is winning. The Chinese have opened up a global English language and multi-language television network, the Russians have opened up an English language network. I've seen it in a couple of countries and it's quite instructive."
Clinton says she is leading an effort to spread U.S. propaganda through new media, with twitter feeds in Arabic and Farsi.
She warns that Republicans want to cut the State Department budget by half.
Progressive Alaska has been praising individual programs by RT TV and Al Jazeera regularly, as well as the genreal level of reporting by those two networks. CCTV, not so much. I've got RT TV and Al Jazeera on my iPhone, not FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, C-Span, MSNBC or CNN. That American media is falling far behind reporting from dozens of sources outside our country is not a new story. That it is falling so far behind that it is truly incapable of catching up, no matter what, may be new, though.
Clinton's talk about her efforts to expand State Department outreach efforts into social media tools is a bit out-of-touch, however. The concensus in the progressive on-line community that keeps up with this stuff is that the efforts are pretty lame, and somewhat hypocritical, at best, perhaps counter productive. Not only that, the State Department has told employees and students hoping to someday work for State that they should not tweet about Wikileaks, visit Wikileaks-related sites or engage in the same kind of activities here the department purports to be supporting in the efforts of young people in other countries.