WASHINGTON—Describing the structure as purely utilitarian and devoid of any inspirational characteristics, officials from the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division launched an international media campaign Wednesday downplaying the symbolic value of the Golden Gate Bridge. “When Americans look at the Golden Gate Bridge, they see some towers and cables and that’s about it—it’s certainly no more an embodiment of American values than any other piece of public infrastructure,” FBI assistant director of public affairs Michael Kortan told reporters before drawing attention to the agency’s Twitter account, which had released a series of tweets explaining that the bridge was “not even that well-known outside the Bay Area” and “pretty much just postcard fodder.”
Overview: Frontline is a public affairs television program that produces and broadcasts in-depth documentaries about various subjects. Produced at WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts and distributed through the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, the program has been critically acclaimed and received numerous awards.
PAOs, and the reporters we facilitate, tend to operate in rather austere environments and finding the right equipment for these environments is a full time job in and of itself (seriously, there are 2 guys at Ft. Meade, MD doing it for just the U.S. Army). During the beginning days of major operations we are often cut off from reliable electricity and internet in deserts, mountains, oceans, jungles, and lord-only-knows wherever else we get sent. While we have systems such as DVIDS to help us get the story out, such systems are bulky and can be cumbersome when weight and speed are a factor. Alan Arnette isn’t a Soldier (never has been to my knowledge) but he is a bit of a kindred spirit in that he has blogged, photographed, reported, and generally communicated literally from the top of the world. I’ve always followed his story because I believe in his cause but also because I was amazed at how he was able to reliably communicate from places that are virtual black holes. He shares the secrets of how he did if from the tops of the worlds tallest mountains in this post from his site. While the military and professional news outlets have their own equipment and ways of doing business this seems like a great primer for anyone planning to freelance in those parts of the world that few dare to tread.
This article delves in deeper to what we call many extremist groups lately: terrorists. Some very radical groups employ the same types of violent activities that other terrorist groups use to get what they want. The author of the textbook we are using this semester, Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility, seems to assert that any type of physical action, from protests to violent outbursts, constitutes coercion and not persuasion. I wouldn’t say that is the case for protests, where the audience still has the ability to consciously make a choice. It may not be an easy choice, but a company can choose to ignore striking workers, if it wants, and still find ways to survive.
The difference comes to the introduction of tactics that leave the other party with no plausible choice between actions. Technically, an animal lab that has been vandalized by an extremist group could ignore the violent act and continue on as normal, but how long would it last? Would people still want to work there, what is to prevent the same action from being taken again? It becomes the only safe choice to shut down the lab. If you hear about a choice that is “life or death,” do we often hear of someone choosing death?
Not all groups that we think of as “extreme” necessarily rely on definitive coercion. PETA, for example, uses very strong, but none-the-less persuasive methods to advocate for animal rights. They don’t use physical violence, and while some of their imagery and literature may make you squeemish, you can still look away and go on with your day, if you so choose, without fear of retaliation. This is the difference between groups using persuasion, and groups using coercion.
I got Public Affairs; I obtained one of 12 PA officer slots and will be attending DINFOS (hopefully sometime next year) and will be an Air Force Public Affairs Officer. I’m so thrilled, this was my first choice. I couldn’t be happier. Today rules.
Survey of Journalists Finds Public Information Officers Often Prevent the Public From Accessing Information
A chart from the Society of Professional Journalists’ survey indicates the extremely high amount of journalists who say that agency officials monitor interviews with agency employees. In fact, only 9% of journalists say that this rarely or never happens.
The Society of Professional Journalists conducted a study for this year’s Sunshine Week surveying 146 journalists who cover federal agencies regarding the role that public affairs or public information officers play in restricting the flow of relevant information to the public.
The survey found that journalists face significant obstacles in the performance of their duties due to the obstructive activities of public affairs officers. Some of these obstacles include requiring pre-approval for interviews, prohibiting interviews of certain agency employees or rerouting interview requests, and the active monitoring of interviews being conducted with agency employees.
Journalists who responded to the survey found that this obstruction is preventing the public from “getting all the information it needs because of barriers agencies are imposing on journalists’ reporting practices.”
Here’s what the survey found:
75% of journalists reported that they have to get approval from public affairs officers before interviewing an agency employee
70% reported that agency interview requests are forwarded to public affairs officers for “selective routing” to whomever they want
Almost 50% reported that agency employees are sometimes barred from engaging with interviews with the press and nearly 20% of journalists say that this is a common occurrence
More than 50% reported that public affairs officials monitor their interviews with agency employees either all or most of the time
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine prepares for her swearing-in ceremony with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2012. [State Department photo by Ben Chang/ Public Domain]