• I Don’t Get Social Media, Thai Edition

    May 2, 2013 // 9 Comments »

    So it was recently new year in Thailand, Songkran, celebrated by throwing water, face painting and dancing, all for the good. The Thais know how to throw a party.

    In the middle of all this, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok spends sequester-free dollars to make this video, featuring starring idolizing the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney.

    Let’s watch:

    I’ve looked all over, and cannot find any other country’s ambassador to Thailand dancing and grinning like she is on the third day of a serious meth bender, on video (the other ambassadors may take meth and dance, but they have the class to not do it on camera). The Thai comments on YouTube are all nice, but then again the Thais are a wonderfully polite people.

    I have also looked everywhere for video of the Thai Ambassador to the United States doing something “American” on video for Fourth of July, or any other American holiday, maybe smoking meth at a NASCAR tailgate.

    We are then left with the question of whether the American Embassy alone understands the power and value of social media, producing these videos and catapulting public opinion of the U.S.A to crazy heights while other nations just stand aside gaping at our brilliance. Or are we just a bunch of idiots?

    Note: All joking aside, it looks like the Ambassador performed the whole video backwards, which is pretty freaking cool. It also accounts for the spaced out looks on everyone’s faces, so maybe it wasn’t the meth. I could criticize her for what must have been a forever process of rehearsal when she should have been reading Wikileaks or something, but in the end fair points for that.

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    Posted in Embassy/State

    Washington Post: Anybody Home?

    August 28, 2012 // 10 Comments »

    On August 20 I asked some serious questions of the Washington Post about what appeared to be a propaganda piece on the reconstruction of Haiti pimped to one of their “journalists” by the State Department. I sent the same questions to the Post’s Ombudsman via email and a phone message. I explained that I would publish his reply on this blog. I resent the email for good measure a day later.

    There has been no reply.

    There was however this comment posted to the original piece by “Lafcadio.” I don’t know Lafcadio or know who he is, but he has commented here about the State Department knowledgeably in the past. Here’s what he said:

    Don’t blame the writer for this drivel. The editors at the Post are the ones responsible. They hold all the power, and big Public Affairs (PA) at State has been cutting deals with them.

    After Mary Ryan got fired due to “unauthorized” leaks back in 2002, State started working the hometown paper. (They never had to work the NY Times, Times has almost always been in the bag for the Foreign Service). A lot of FS heavies (Black Dragons in Diplomatic Security [DS] speak) put pressure on the Post editors (and owners) to not run so many negative stories. As an incentive, big PA gives “exclusives” to the Post, in return for not running or downplaying the unauthorized leaks, and running a few puff pieces, like this one.

    How would I know ths? Some of the young flacks in big PA have big mouths. They even boast about this in Foreign Service Institute (FSI; the State Department training facility) presentations.

    Some of the writers at the Post chafe at the bit to run more of the unauthorized leaks. But their editors made a deal with the devil, or in this case, the Black Dragons.

    This raises the question of whether the Washington Post has devolved from writing about all the president’s men to being them. Ombudsman, still waiting on you…

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Embassy/State