Contrary to what BBG [The Broadcasting Board of Governors, a controversial Federal agency in charge of US international broadcasts] members believe, including its most recent chairman [James K. Glassman], traditional independent radio and television journalism can be successfully merged with Web 2.0 concepts and can achieve high audience ratings without resorting to questionable management techniques, marketing practices and crude propaganda.
They could have learned much about the use of “soft power” from reading a recently published book by Ambassador Patricia Gates Lynch, Thanks for Listening: High Adventures in Journalism and Diplomacy, with the foreword by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
For many years Ms. Gates had been a host of the highly popular VOA Breakfast Show. She made millions of friends for America around the world without resorting to propaganda simply by telling her audiences about America and broadcasting interviews with exceptional and ordinary Americans. Later named by President Reagan as U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, Pat Gates also worked briefly as a public relations representative for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty at the time when that organization practiced truly independent surrogate journalism while Voice of America offered a mix of American news, American commentaries, as well as reports on political and human rights situation in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
There was no BBG at that time, and both VOA and RFE/RL were managed by journalistic professionals and distinguished Americans, people like NBC anchor John Chancellor and Malcolm Forbes, Jr. Political appointees serving now on the BBG do not want people with ideas and much greater accomplishments to tell them how to practice broadcast journalism. — Ted Lipien, January 2009.