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JOHANNESBURG -- Regular readers of this blog no doubt saw the headlines last week expressing concern about the drop in the percentage of international travelers who head for the U.S.

In the Financial Times, for example, the headline on September 4 was "US tourism 'needs a warmer welcome.'" And there was this quote: “The image of the US is at an all-time low in many parts of the world.”

"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

WASHINGTON -- Watching George Bush and Tony Blair tie up traffic in Georgetown last week and reading the wall-to-wall coverage of Bush, Blair and Iraq in the US media, Inspector Gregory's question to Holmes came to mind.

NAIROBI – December 10

Is Africa becoming part of the Middle Kingdom?

That is a popular question in the news recently: The week began with a Council on Foreign Relations report describing Africa's strategic importance to the United States. The report was comprehensive, but most American media accounts focused on one chapter, about energy, and how the Chinese were cultivating African oil, gas and other resources.

WASHINGTON -- Oct. 22

Thursday night was a big night for Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language television news channel in the Middle East.

The preemptive lead story was the release of the UN report on the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon.

For most news organizations, it was a story worth at best three or four news reports. At Al Jazeera, editors decided this was the only story of the night.

As Karen Hughes begins to settle into her new office, she must see that one priority for U.S. public diplomacy is to get reporters out of Baghdad.

No, not get reporters out of Iraq: Just get them out of their bureaus in the capital.

LOS ANGELES, July 13 - Nothing fascinates media as much as, well, media.

That is the lasting impression after an extended visit to New Zealand and Australia, which boast world-class commercial, public service and international broadcasters and first-rate newspapers. But looking at America through South Pacific lenses, the focus more often than not seemed on American media.

WASHINGTON, July 12 - There's truly no business like show business.

That old song title was reinforced during a recent visit to Australia and New Zealand, where coverage of the U.S. was frequent, detailed and prominently played. But the lens through which America was presented to the South Pacific was not Wall Street or Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON, March 30 – One of Al Jazeera’s fiercest critics in the U.S. now says the Arab satellite channel has become a vehicle to spread democracy in the Arab world.

Acknowledging this reversal of his longtime criticism of the channel, Richard Perle this morning said Al Jazeera’s broadcasts of elections in Afghanistan and Iraq and anti-Syrian protests in Lebanon was advancing democracy in the region – just by the pictures it showed.

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