As the 2012 presidential campaign kicks into gear, President Obama's White House media operation is demonstrating an unprecedented ability to broadcast its message through social media and the Internet, at times doing an end-run around the traditional press.Kim Jong-Il would be green with envy if he were still alive.
The White House Press Office now not only produces a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, and Facebook and Twitter profiles, but also a mix of daily video programming, including live coverage of the president's appearances and news-like shows that highlight his accomplishments.
Yet when it comes to picayune matters like foreign affairs, utilizing social media has apparently been an afterthought.
A senate hearing Wednesday revealed that top US intelligence agencies are largely ignorant about the current situation in Egypt and unfamiliar with the agenda of the country’s radical Islamists.A week ago Clapper basically had no idea what the Muslim Brotherhood was all about. Today, he tells us they're a global organization. A quick study, that Clapper.
"It's hard to at this point to point to a specific agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood as a group," National Intelligence Director James Clapper told senators. When asked about the group’s attitude to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, he said this was a difficult question before assessing “they are not in favor of the treaty.”
However, he then noted that the Muslim Brotherhood was “only one voice in the emerging political milieu," adding that the group is “a large, heterogeneous global organization whose agenda and impact differ from country to country.”
Intelligence officials also conceded in the hearing that they did not pay enough attention to social media networks, and that they were not closely monitoring Tunisia, where the wave of ongoing regional unrest started.Now they'll pay attention to social media? What, a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, Facebook and Twitter profiles, a mix of daily video programming, and live coverage of Obama's every move isn't paying attention?
“Frankly, Tunisia was probably not up there in our top 10 countries we were watching closely,” Clapper said. “So there is the aspect of the spread, the balance of our collection priorities. Obviously, we’re going to work on that. ... We’re going to pay a lot more attention to social media and what we can do to extract warning."