Wednesday, September 09, 2009

James Fallows at Gov 2.0

John Podesta and The Atlantic's James Fallows did a nice let's-interview-each-other at Gov 2.0 today and Fallows provided a few scraps of wisdom, based largely on his past three years' residence in China.

He noted that Chinese impressions of the U.S. are not yet created by social media, but said that it's "still American movies and TV iving impressions of the U.S. ... Old media still tell more of America's story internationally than new media do."

Podesta said that "The role of English overseas is a marvel ... you see Poles speaking to Koreans [in English] and all the rest," meaning that English is now a true lingua franca in his experience; he sees an opportunity to engage ESL foreign audiences with English-language broadcasting across platforms.

He was hopeful about the idea of having conversations with foreign publics as opposed to issuing statements to them, noting that "this sweeping empowering steps may be one that the U.S. is better equipped to take than other countries."

On Chinese search-engine freedom, Fallows thinks Google remains a big improvement, in terms of sheer numbers of results returned, than Baidu or other Chinese-language search sites.

And not to end on a down note, but Fallows feels the "sense of American renewal" he says foreign audiences had immediately after President Obama's election has "evaporated completely."

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