During testimony on January 23, 2013, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stated:
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world. So, we’re abdicating the ideological arena, and we need to get back into it.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: And finally, we need to do a better job conveying a counter-narrative to the extremist Jihadist narrative. You know, I’ve said this to this Committee before — a lot of new members on it — you know, we have abdicated the broadcasting arena. You know, yes, we have private stations: CNN, Fox, NBC, all of that. They are out there, they convey information, but we’re not doing what we did during the Cold War.
Our Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world. So, we’re abdicating the ideological arena, and we need to get back into it. We have the best values. We have the best narrative.
Most people in the world just want to have a good decent life that is supported by a good decent job and raise their families, and we’re letting the Jihadist narrative fill a void. We have to get in there and compete, and we can do it successfully.
Two years earlier, also during the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on March 2, 2011, that the U.S. is losing the information war.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We are engaged in an information war. You know, during the Cold War, we did a great job in getting America’s message out. After the Berlin Wall fell, we said: Okay, fine, enough of that. We’ve done it. And unfortunately, we are paying a big price for it.
Our private media cannot fill that gap. In fact, our private media, particularly cultural programming, often works at counter purposes to what we truly are as Americans and what our values are. I remember having an Afghan general tell me that the only thing he thought about Americans is that all the men wrestled, and the women walked around in bikinis because the only TV he ever saw was ‘Baywatch’ and [professional wrestling shows].
So, we are in an information war, and we are losing that war. I’ll be very blunt in my assessment. Al-Jazeera is winning. The Chinese have opened up a global English language and multi-language television network. The Russians have opened up an English language network. We’ve seen it in a few countries, and it is quite instructive. We are cutting back. The BBC is cutting back.
Most people still get their news from TV and radio. So even though we’re pushing online, we can’t forget TV and radio. And so, I would look very much toward your cooperation to try to figure out how we get back in the game on this.