Is anybody out there watching? Charlie Wick's latest flop.
IS ANYBODY OUT THERE WATCHING?
We should have been heroes. U.S. soldiers had just splashed ashore the sunny isle of Isle of
For names of actual isles, see the specific element of the name; for example, Wight, Isle of. Grenada and routed the cabal of local communists and visiting Cuban construction workers. But when Charles Wick, director of the United States Information Agency The United States Information Agency (USIA), which existed from 1953 to 1999, was a United States agency devoted to public diplomacy. Mission
The USIA's mission was to understand, inform and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest, to broaden , visited Western Europe Western Europe
The countries of western Europe, especially those that are allied with the United States and Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (established 1949 and usually known as NATO). during the 1983 invasion, he encountered almost unanimous condemnation from America's allies and the European press. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. one of his USIA USIA
United States Information Agency
USIA n abbr (= United States Information Agency) → US-Informations- und Kulturinstitut subordinates, "Wick came back and said, "God, they're killing us over there! Maggie Thatcher Thatch·er , Margaret Hilda. Baroness. Born 1925.
British Conservative politician who served as prime minister (1979-1990). Her administration was marked by anti-inflationary measures, a brief war in the Falkland Islands (1982), and the passage of a is saying the U.S. should never have gone into Grenada. What can be done?''
Following instincts finely honed during decades as a Hollywood agent and producer, Wick moved quickly. If the critics are taking you to the cleaners, why not make an end run and get your message to the audience directly? There was no time, however, for a full-fledged production number--cobalt blue waves lapping up against pearl white Basic bismuth nitrate, or bismuth subchloride; - used chiefly as a cosmetic
A variety of white lead blued with indigo or Berlin blue.
See also: Pearl Pearl sands, Frank Sinatra in sunglasses and a flower print shirt, a "Let Grenada be Grenada' theme song. So Wick settled for rounding up Jeane Kirkpatrick Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick (November 19 1926 – December 7 2006) was an American ambassador and an ardent anticommunist. After serving as Ronald Reagan's foreign policy adviser in his 1980 campaign and later in his Cabinet, the longtime Democrat turned Republican was , then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, two Caribbean prime ministers, and a pair of State Department officials for an unprecedented intercontinental video press conference, simultaneously beamed to five European capitals.
In the eyes of White House and USIA officials, Wick's gambit worked; the European reaction quickly faded. Wick sensed that he was onto something. Soon, administration officials were appearing twice a month on a new intercontinental interview service. But why stop there? By the fall of 1984, Wick was seeking advice from top figures in the field of international telecommunications, including Rupert Murdoch, the Australian press magnate. An American diplomat familiar with the situation says Murdoch played a critical role in familiarizing Wick with the possibilities of new satellite technology. It was after meeting Murdoch, says the diplomat, that "Wick saw the potential for thinking big.'
The result was WorldNet, a $15 million-a-year, satellite-aided television network designed to bolster international support for American policy. In launching the project this spring, Wick warned that the Soviet Union was out-spending the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. in international propaganda by a margin of three to one, and was already sending TV broadcasts to Western Europe. WorldNet would help close the Broadcast Gap and counter Soviet disinformation dis·in·for·ma·tion
1. Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation: aimed at our allies. "In the confrontation between our free world society and our totalitarian adversaries,' said Wick, "WorldNet is a highly cost-efficient alternative to military hardware.'
As initially conceived, WorldNet would beam an hour and a half's worth of news and feature reports to European networks--all at no charge to the customers. (Plans also were set in motion to supplement the flagship English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. production with shows in Spanish, French, and Portugese.) And from USIA's Washington headquarters came the marching order Noun 1. marching order - equipage for marching; "the company was dressed in full marching order"
equipage, materiel - equipment and supplies of a military force to the troops in the field: employees in Western Europe's embassies would serve as WorldNet field agents, convincing Europe's television networks to begin pulling the programming directly from the satellite.
There's just one small problem with WorldNet: almost no one is watching it. Since the first broadcast in April, only a handful of small cable stations in northern Europe has agreed to run WorldNet. No major European network, commercial or state-supported, has accepted the USIA's invitation to run any daily WorldNet programming. Some Europeans haven't exactly minced words about it, either. "Not a second of that will appear on my show if I have any say,' says Hans Friederichs, who will soon be the news anchorman for West Germany's most-watched television station. "You have to see it this way: no self-respecting American network American Network is cable/satellite television network. It broadcasts only American shows. Is part of Televisa Networks, as affiliate on Televisa. Programs broadcast by American Network
I first caught up with WorldNet this summer during visit to the American embassy in Paris. Embassy personnel had set up 30 or so chairs in a sober, wood-paneled room illuminated by a single chandelier. At precisely two o'clock, a bank of television monitors lit up with animated color pictures: a violin, a microscope, a baseball mitt, a cowboy hat, the U.S. Capitol. "Star Trek'-like theme music played in the background. An upbeat male voice announced, "Live from Washington, D.C., this is "America Today.''
The camera then cut to a man and woman anchor team, framed by oblong relief maps of the world. A half-hour news segment opened the show. It consisted of briskly paced news stories, many of which had played on the American network news the evening before, though in different form: the Supreme Court's decision against prayer in the schools, reports of Soviet air attacks in Afghanistan, U.S.-Japanese trade talks, and a glowing portrait of the new Grenadan prime minister's meeting with George Shultz.
"America Today' is remarkable only in its quick American pacing and effervescent ef·fer·vesce
intr.v. ef·fer·vesced, ef·fer·vesc·ing, ef·fer·vesc·es
1. To emit small bubbles of gas, as a carbonated or fermenting liquid.
2. To escape from a liquid as bubbles; bubble up.
3. tone; the banter between the two co-anchors is reminiscent of a morning talk show. In addition to "America Today,' an average week of WorldNet also includes a rotating series of mini-documentaries such as "Journey through the Solar System solar system, the sun and the surrounding planets, natural satellites, dwarf planets, asteroids, meteoroids, and comets that are bound by its gravity. The sun is by far the most massive part of the solar system, containing almost 99.9% of the system's total mass. ,' which chronicles American space exploration. "American Images' presents the lives of average Americans in different occupations (a devotee of CBS News CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. Its current president is Sean McManus who is also head of CBS Sports. Current productions
Current television shows
During several visits to the U.S. embassy in Paris, my sole company in the audience consisted of two bored-looking foreign service officers. That translated into not a single French viewer, since the only place in France receiving the program was the embassy itself. The same scene was repeated during several other visits to American missions in Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. and Bonn.
WorldNet is only one example of Wick's impact on the USIA. A friend since their Hollywood days, President Reagan has consistently supported Wick's plans for expanding USIA; the result has been a remarkable 75 percent budget increase since 1981, rivaling the percentage increase for the Pentagon. As Wick boasted earlier this year in an interview with Parade magazine, "I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. anything about foreign affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries. , and I don't know anything about journalism, but I do know how to make things happen.'
He certainly seems to have demonstrated all three attributes in launching WorldNet. With strong White House backing, Wick's budget request for fiscal year 1986, including $15 million for WorldNet, sailed through the Office of Management and Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), formerly the Bureau of the Budget, is an agency of the federal government that evaluates, formulates, and coordinates management procedures and program objectives within and among departments and agencies of the Executive Branch. . Wick didn't get everything he wanted from Congress; the International Operations Internal Operations (I.O., IO or I/O) is a fictional American Intelligence Agency in Wildstorm comics. It was originally called International Operations. I.O. first appeared in WildC.A.T.S. volume 1 #1 (August, 1992) and was created by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. subcommittee in the House refused to approve a domestic version of WorldNet. But if anyone in Congress had any serious qualms about the goals or feasibility of WorldNet itself, they didn't voice them then.
The first sign of trouble came when the European Broadcasting Union “EBU” redirects here. For other uses, see EBU (disambiguation).
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU; French: L'Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision ("UER") , a clearinghouse for international news film and reporting, turned down a two-week trial tape before WorldNet even had begun official operations this spring. The Union has since carried only a few WorldNet products, such as footage from the space shuttle, when there has been no other source for the film. But aside from occasionally drawing on WorldNet as a library of film clips, foreign networks have shunned the service. "It's never difficult to establish the American viewpoint on something; we can do that through our Washington bureau,' says Jim Akhurst, foreign editor for Britain's commercial Independent Television Network.
There are about 240 West European correspondents based in the United States, according to the the USIA. In addition to the Broadcasting Union's Euro-vision Exchange, most European television stations have their own exchange agreements with one or more of the four major American networks. Among these U.S. journalists and their editors and desk chiefs in Europe, there is little affection for WorldNet. Courtenay Tordoff, deputy foreign editor for BBC-TV in London, says the British television network "is not involved in a propaganda war for or against the Soviet Union. We are not putting out propoganda for anybody. . . . No one cares what the USIA thinks.' Sven Kuntze, foreign news correspondent for ARD-TV in Bonn, observes: "We have the feeling that this news service is a way to kick our correspondents out of the business.'
Allowing for a touch of hyperbole, Kuntz is not that far off about the USIA's motivation. John Walsh of the USIA's Office of European Affairs insists that the agency doesn't "want to suggest that the European correspondents are doing a bad job.' But Walsh concedes that "WorldNet has the potential for presenting a U.S. viewpoint without the filter of the [foreign] correspondents here. . . . If we can get a message out directly, we want to do that.'
So what exactly is the message? Well, things are a little unclear on this score. Working through the USIA's policy guidance office, the State Department informs the producers of "America Today' of the administration's "line of the day' on such issues as import quotas Import quotas are a form of protectionism. An import quota fixes the quantity of a particular good that foreign producers may bring into a country over a specific period, usually a year. The U.S. government imposes quotas to protect domestic industries from foreign competition. , support for rebel forces in Nicaragua, or Star Wars. The policy guidance staff can veto stories or ask that they be delayed until a particular administration spokesman is interviewed. But beyond these directives, the purpose of WorldNet gets fuzzy. Alvin Snyder, head of the USIA's television and film service, says that his goal is to illustrate that America "is the best society, people are the happiest, they dress better, they have more fun, their music is good. It's the Pepsi Generation!' Tim White, co-host of "America Today,' concedes, "We're not sure yet who the audience is. . . . We hope to put it out there and wait for an audience to come to us.' White is lucky that his job security doesn't depend on the ratings.