From the State Department, All the News for Inquiring Minds

Karen Hughes wrote on the State Department's blog that she was on
Karen Hughes wrote on the State Department's blog that she was on "the Indonesian version of 'Oprah.' " (J. Scott Applewhite - AP)
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fox News, launched with such high hopes 11 years ago as the "fair and balanced" network, apparently hasn't lived up to its billing. CNN never had a chance. The other networks? Please. No citizen could dare trust the agenda-driven print media -- The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times -- to figure out, let alone accurately tell, the "real" story.

But now the State Department is in the blogosphere, and says it "offers the public an alternative source to mainstream media for U.S. foreign policy information." The blog, launched last week and called "Dipnote," is "taking you behind the scenes."

This is what we've all been waiting for! No more media filters and distortions. Unbiased news directly from the federal government, a news source long noted for truthful, unbiased reporting. The Clinton administration and most all its predecessors vowed to end-run the media, and they finally have the new electronic media to help them to do it.

One of the first diplo-bloggers last week was the assistant secretary for international organizations, Kristen Silverberg, who blogged from the United Nations.

"Another busy day in New York!" she gushed Tuesday. ("I'm exhausted!" she wrote in a later dispatch that day.) "First thing this morning, President Bush met with President Karzai" to discuss progress in Afghanistan.

"We have a lot of hope," she wrote, "for the future of Afghanistan," where child mortality has declined 20 percent in the past five years and 80 percent of the public has access to basic health care and "primary school enrollment for both boys and girls has increased by five hundred percent over the past five years."

But that's not all! "Later in the morning," Silverberg reported, "Secretary Rice attended a meeting" and "issued a joint statement calling on the government of Burma to end violence against the peaceful demonstrators."

"The Security Council this afternoon issued a statement of concern about the events in Burma, which were also discussed at today's G8 Foreign Ministers lunch," Silverberg reported, and Rice "raised the issue of Burma when she met this afternoon" with India's foreign minister. She also met with the Korean foreign minister about North Korea's nukes.

"While Secretary Rice will be back in Washington, D.C., for part of the day tomorrow to open the President's meeting of major economies on energy security and climate, I'll still be in New York and will keep you updated!" Thank goodness.

Public diplomacy czarina Karen Hughes's blog from the United Nations yesterday gave us a real insider's view of diplomacy in action.

"This morning I spoke live with hundreds of thousands of people in the Arab world by appearing on Al Arabiya," she wrote, "one of the leading television networks in the Middle East. Whenever I visit a country, and I've been to about 40 during the last two years, I usually do television and radio interviews (I've even appeared on what was described as the Indonesian version of 'Oprah')."

Would the conservative or liberal media give you that insight? Hardly.

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