PR Czar Hughes Loses the Reporters

"In September, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes ... took 16 reporters on her first trip to the Mideast," Al Kamen writes. "We all know how well that trip turned out. So this time, Hughes, heading later this week for Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Germany, has reduced the media contingent ... to zero." Hughes did grant an interview to Time magazine, in which she described the State Department's new media monitoring unit. In addition to live Arab TV broadcasts, she says, "We have a young man who's watching the blogs, the Web chats." Hughes also describes public diplomacy plans around the 2006 World Cup soccer tournament: "We're going to have our embassies very involved in inviting kids to come watch the games this summer."