'Bye to Hi,' U.S Middle East Propaganda Failure

"The U.S. State Department announced yesterday it was suspending publication of Hi Magazine, its glossy, monthly attempt to win the hearts and minds of young Arabs, part of a communications troika it established following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ... The magazine had been derided by commentators in the Arab world as 'schlock'' or 'brainwashing'' and one had dubbed it the CIA's official publication. The decision to suspend publication was made by Karen Hughes, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy ... The U.S. government has been spending $4.5 million (U.S.) annually since July 2003, trying to bring its own particular take on American life to a target Arab demographic aged 18-35. Along with Al Hurra TV and Radio Sawa, Hi was a three-pronged $62 million (U.S.) annual effort to counter anti-Americanism in countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and others."


At least Ms. Hughes has the common sense to bury this corpse. Now, perhaps she can set her sights toward burying the corpse of Al-Hurrah Television, another ill-conceived, Madison Avenue-ish concoction that has done far more harm than good.

Still, no amount of PR or journalistic effort and savvy can put a truly positive face on a broken and unworkable -- and thus "unsellable" foreign policy.