For America’s Bicentennial celebration in 1976, the United States Information Agency created a very trippy video. Trippy as in some have suggested the people who made it were dropping acid. It is very psychedelic. At one point, cars, hamburgers, hot dogs, baseballs and TVs fly out of a cornucopia. The flashing kaleidoscope of images is enough to make you dizzy.
The United States Information Agency existed from 1956 to 1999. It was essentially a public relations firm for the U.S. Government. It’s primary goal was to improve public opinion about the United States among foreign cultures and countries.
As a public relations careerist, my take on the USIA is probably more favorable than most. The agency was often accused of being little more than a propaganda machine, but in reality the work they did was very important. I have never taken the time to study its many contributions, but I do remember hearing a presentation by a former USIA employee. She gave very interesting details about USIA’s involvement in the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It’s interesting to note that since the USIA closed, global public opinion of America has suffered. Click here to read about the decline during the Bush years and here to read about the decline during the Obama Administration.