Worldnet: Propaganda and Public Diplomacy

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Thomas Bruce

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


Significant international events and developments in world politics and the decisions of domestic policy makers clearly affected U.S. programs and the way that the U.S. government manipulated information for international audiences. This dissertation provides a historical account of the United States Government's propaganda and public diplomacy activities, and the policy factors, world events, and national pressures that have altered those activities. The U.S. information program, including the U.S. Information Agency's international satellite service, Worldnet, is analyzed within this context. In November 1983, the Worldnet operations were established. Five years later, the service was severely restricted and nearly cancelled altogether. Though Worldnet is only one small component of the USIA public diplomacy efforts, the questions surrounding the service's design, development, and existence and its institutional history are important. This dissertation answers those questions.