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Hope and Folly

Hope and Folly: The United States and UNESCO, 1945-1985

WILLIAM PRESTON
EDWARD S. HERMAN
HERBERT I. SCHILLER
PREFACE BY SEÁN MACBRIDE
ELLEN RAY
WILLIAM H. SCHAAP
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 1989
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 396
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttxk3
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  • Book Info
    Hope and Folly
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5580-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Seán MacBride
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Ellen Ray and William Schaap

    This conversation, which took place not long after the United States had withdrawn from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, is a tribute to the strength of the campaign of disinformation against UNESCO which developed over the 1980s.

    Our friend² was not alone in criticizing a book he had never read; this practice was encouraged by its foes before the report was published. On May 17, 1980, after it had been presented to the UNESCO director-general, but before it had been officially released,Editor and Publisherhad this to say about the MacBride Report:

    Whether you have read...

  5. THE HISTORY OF U.S.-UNESCO RELATIONS
    (pp. 3-202)
    William Preston Jr.

    In the immediate aftermath of World War II, in a burst of idealism, the victorious allies created the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “Since wars begin in the minds of men,” UNESCO’S preamble began,* “it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”¹ Goaded by the examples of Nazi tyranny, propaganda, and racism, and inspired by the optimism of victory and the belief in human solidarity, brotherhood, and understanding as the only sure basis of international peace, the founders hoped UNESCO would be the genie of global amity and cooperation.

    This...

  6. U.S. MASS MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM UNESCO
    (pp. 203-284)
    Edward S. Herman

    The central focus of the U.S. mass media in their treatment of the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO—and in their attention to UNESCO more generally over the past decade—has been its alleged threat to a “free press.” In mass-media discourse, a free press is implicitly or explicitly one in private hands, financed largely by advertising, and not subject to government controls or any other obligatory norm of social responsibility. It is postulated in this “mercantile conception of information”¹ that a press so organized will be fair and “objective,” and that the commercial interests of the private owners, their advertising...

  7. IS THERE A UNITED STATES INFORMATION POLICY?
    (pp. 285-312)
    Herbert I. Schiller

    United States information policy, it has often been asserted, does not exist. In the sense that there is no single, coherent policy formulation, or site of such formulation, or even a policy document, this assertion is correct. It is also true that there is no single governmental agency or division which is in indisputable control or which has general responsibility for overall information policy. There are numerous sites in the federal bureaucracy where information issues are decided and policy determined. There are, for example, the trade division of the Department of Commerce, the information activities of the U.S. Information Agency,...

  8. APPENDIXES
    (pp. 313-350)
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 351-358)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 359-368)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 369-369)