Information Wars : How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It (9780802147998) by Stengel Richard

Information Wars : How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It (9780802147998) by Stengel Richard

Author:Stengel, Richard [Stengel, Richard]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780802147998
Publisher: Lightning Source Inc
Published: 2019-10-09T16:00:00+00:00


I wrote it quickly, and when it was done, I asked my assistant, Kathy, to send it up to the Secretary. It had to be retyped and formatted in the prescribed way. Even though it did not have to be cleared, it had to go through “the line” and the Secretary’s office.

At the 8:30 that morning, I mentioned that I had sent up a memo about the Paris ministerial. A few perfunctory nods. A day later, I passed Tony Blinken in the hall on the seventh floor, and he mentioned that he’d read the memo and thought it was strong. I thanked him. People should read it, he said. They would.

Early Saturday morning, my speechwriter Nate Rawlings emailed me telling me to look at the New York Times. In government, people always communicated bad news in a completely neutral way. If, say, your dog was run over, you’d get a message saying, “Have you seen your dog lately?”

What’s up? I replied.

“Look at the front page,” he said.

There it was, below the fold: “ISIS Is Winning the Social Media War, U.S. Concludes.”43

Here’s the top of the story:

WASHINGTON—An internal State Department assessment paints a dismal picture of the efforts by the Obama administration and its foreign allies to combat the Islamic State’s message machine, portraying a fractured coalition that cannot get its own message straight.

The assessment comes months after the State Department signaled that it was planning to energize its social media campaign against the militant group. It concludes, however, that the Islamic State’s violent narrative—promulgated through thousands of messages each day—has effectively “trumped” the efforts of some of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced nations …

The internal document—composed by Richard A. Stengel, the State Department’s under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs and a former managing editor of Time magazine—was written for Secretary of State John Kerry after a conference of Western and Arab officials in Paris this month on countering the Islamic State.



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