Public diplomacy and the international history of mass media: The USIA, the Kennedy assassination, and the world

  • Culbert D
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Abstract

The article discusses U.S. public diplomacy, or the government's efforts to communicate with foreign publics, through the United States Information Agency (USIA) and its response to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. In particular, a 1964 documentary film made for the USIA by director Bruce Herschensohn, "John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums," is discussed, including its coverage of Kennedy's administration and his state funeral. The film's effectiveness as a piece of public diplomacy, and the differences between public diplomacy and propaganda, are discussed. Also discussed is the film footage of the Kennedy assassination shot by businessman Abraham Zapruder, and ensuing conspiracy theories about the event.

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Authors

  • David Culbert

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