Hughes Gets a Little Help from a Friend

"At the State Department's invitation," former Voice of America director and current dean of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication Geoffrey Cowan wrote an opinion piece for USA Today praising Karen Hughes, the new U.S. public diplomacy head. Hughes "knows that we have to change our tone so that we sound less arrogant," Cowan wrote. "Importantly," during her recent Middle East "listening tour," Hughes was "accompanied ... by Dina Powell, her new deputy, who was born in Egypt and speaks fluent Arabic." Noting Cowan's "third-party endorsement" of Hughes, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reported that, while USA Today did disclose the State Department's role in the opinion piece, the newspaper didn't mention that "Cowan received a briefing from Hughes when she visited the campus on Sept. 21."