Created in a burst of idealism after World War II, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) existed for forty years in a state of troubled yet oftern successful collaboration with one of its founders and benefactors, the United States. In 1980, UNESCO adopted the report of a commission that surveyed and criticized the dominance, in world media, of the United States, Japan, and a handful of European countries. The report also provided the conceptual underpinnings for what was later called the New World Information and Communication Order, a general direction adopted by UNESCO to encourage increased Third World participation in world media. This direction - it never became an official program - ultimately led to the United States’s withdrawal from UNESCO in 1984. Hope and Folly is an interpretive chronicle of U.S./ UNESCO relations. Although the information debated has garnered wide attention in Europe and the Third World, there is no comparable study in the English language, and none that focuses specifically on the United States and the broad historical context of the debate. In the first three parts, William Preston covers the changing U.S./ UNESCO relationship from the early cold war years through the period of anti-UNESCO backlash, as well as the politics of the withdrawal. Edward Herman’s section is an interpretive critique of American media coverage of the withdrawal, and Herbert Schiller’s is a conceptual analysis of conflicts within the United States’s information policies during its last years in UNESCO. The book’s appendices include an analysis of Ed Bradley’s notorious “60 Minutes” broadcast on UNESCO.
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