As we talked about in class, international broadcasting is one of the oldest forms of public diplomacy for a reason...communication is influence, and having a presence is a country speaks in and of itself, before you even consider the content.
The Smith-Mundt Act has considerable consequences for international broadcasting. We mentioned that one reason for its influence was to protect American citizens from propaganda aimed at foreign audiences. This seems to make sense to me when you consider WWII and the cold war. Say we fibbed a little bit in some broadcasts for the good of the Allied troops and the position of freedom and democracy. Would it have turned Americans against US policy in a time of war?
This also brings about the issue of Americans receiving propaganda. No matter how you define propaganda, it involves persuasion and that definitely happens everyday when the government tries to win our hearts and minds on an issue. So if we get our own propaganda anyway, will it help to be able to see and hear foreign broadcasts?
It seems to me that Americans receiving foreign broadcasts if Smith-Mundt was reversed is a null point. Considering the broadcasts are geared toward a audience that is probably not so democratic in the first place, it seems the message just wouldn't resonate here in the US. I understand the point that Americans could hold foreign broadcasts accountable by judging the messages for objectivity, but then again is international broadcasting really meant to be completely objective? Because if so, is it effective Public Diplomacy? It seems like the objective is to appear objective in order to have the most influence, which in that case, maybe Smith-Mundt should hold.