J. Dorrance Smith, of Virginia, was confirmed April 7, 2006, by the U.S. Senate to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. "The job of Pentagon spokesman had been unfilled since Victoria Clarke quit the post in June 2003." 
Smith, a former ABC News producer and the former media adviser to Coalition Provisional Authority Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, was confirmed "months after" President George W. Bush "bypassed the Senate to install him in the job after objections were raised about a column he wrote for the Wall Street Journal," Editor & Publisher reported.
Smith was nominated February 10, 2006, to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He was appointed to the same position January 4, 2006, by President Bush in a recess appointment. Smith was first nominated September 22, 2005, by President Bush to replace Victoria Clarke who resigned June 20, 2003.
Smith on Al-Jazeera
In November 2005, Smith "penned an article for The Wall Street Journal blasting all major US television networks and the government of Qatar for cooperating with Al-Jazeera in showing gruesome battlefield footage obtained by the Arab television channel in Iraq," Agence France Presse reported January 5, 2006.
"He decried what he called 'the ongoing relationship between terrorists, Al-Jazeera and the networks' and asked if the US government should maintain normal relations with Qatar as long as its government continued to subsidize Al-Jazeera.
"The outburst prompted Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, to ask whether Smith, a former media adviser to ex-US administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer, 'should be representing the United States government ... with that kind of attitude and approach.'
"Levin also announced he was putting a senatorial hold on the nomination, which remains in effect," AFP wrote.
White House Loyalist
A Republican National Convention planner and former ABC News executive, Smith was quoted in a September 7, 2004, PBS Online NewsHour article as saying "the networks were to blame for their dwindling viewership and called Fox's triumph during the GOP convention 'truly a seminal event.'"
"After two years of running his own production company with fellow Bush Diasporite C. Boyden Gray, Smith rejoined 'This Week' in 1995. He was eventually placed in charge of political coverage for ABC–coverage that, by most reckonings, became among the most scandalobsessed on network television." 
Smith also "recently served as a media consultant for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies." 
"Prior to joining CNBC [in September 2000], Smith was the executive producer of 'This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts' until September 1999. He also served as the executive producer of political program development for ABC News.
"From 1989 until 1991, Smith was the executive producer of ABC News 'Nightline', where he was responsible for the weeklong 'Nightline' series originating from South Africa, which covered the release of Nelson Mandela. The broadcasts won an Emmy. In addition he served as executive producer of the prime time special 'Tragedy at Tiananmen-The Untold Story,' which was honored with the duPont Columbia University Award, the Overseas Press Club Award and an Emmy. 'Nightline' also won an Emmy in 1991 for outstanding news coverage of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
"Prior to his work on 'Nightline,' Smith was the executive producer of the number one rated Sunday public affairs program, 'This Week with David Brinkley,' a post he held from the program's inception in 1981 until 1989. During his tenure the broadcast received the first Joan Barone Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, and was named the Best National TV Interview Discussion Program by the readers of the Washington Journalism Review. Smith also served as a senior advisor to President Bush, where he was Assistant to the President for Media Affairs.
"From 1974 to 1980, Smith held a variety of roles at ABC, including executive producer for all weekend news, Washington producer for ABC News' 'The Iran Crises: America Held Hostage' and ABC News White House producer. Smith also served as ABC News Senior Producer at the 1980 Winter Olympics, the 1984 Winter and Summer Games, and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Smith joined ABC News as a Washington producer in 1977. Previously he was staff assistant to President Gerald Ford.
"Smith graduated from Claremont Men's College in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree."
Source: Business Wire, September 18, 2000.
Resources and articles
Related SourceWatch articles
- Bloggers' Roundtable
- Bush administration cronyism and incompetence
- government-industry revolving door
- Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon, "Nobody would try to fly a plane with a right wing and no left wing," Tucson Weekly, December 7-13, 1995.
- "Revolving Head," Forbes, June 4, 1997.
- Mona Charen, "ABC aims at Kristol, shoots self in foot," Jewish World Review, December 29, 1999.
- "Dorrance Smith Named Executive Producer of CNBC Election Coverage," Business Wire, September 18, 2000.
- Bennett Roth, "Tropical storm aid wins praise for Bush. President's father failed to get same response in 1992," Houston Chronicle, July 1, 2001.
- Joe Hagan, "It’s Bagh-SPAN: Bremer Bunch Will Broadcast," Newsday (Free Republic), November 12, 2003. Also see C-SPAN Baghdad.
- Jim Krane, "Some political appointees highly skilled for Iraq jobs," Associated Press (SFGate), April 4, 2004: "In Washington, there's a palpable frustration among some career Iraq experts who feel they were passed over for positions in the occupation government in favor of Bush loyalists."
- Chuck Raasch, "Old memos and modern battles," USA Today, June 24, 2004.
- " PBS Online NewsHour, September 7, 2004.
- "James Pinkerton responds to Dorrance Smith," Iraq Media Developments, Stanhope Centre, May 3, 2005. Includes James P. Pinkerton's "Is U.S. media a 'partner' with Al-Jazeera?" Newsday, May 3, 2005.
- "Dorrance Smith calls out Aljazeera," Iraq Media Developments, Stanhope Centre, May 6, 2005. Includes Dorrance Smith's "The Enemy On Our Airwaves," Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "The War Party's War on the Media. They don't want the truth about Iraq to get out," antiwar.com, May 4, 2005.
- "Three Responses to Dorrance Smith," Iraq Media Developments, Stanhope Centre, May 6, 2005.
- "Bush Announces Pick To Replace Pentagon Spokesman," Agence France Presse (spacewar.com), September 23, 2005.
- Oliver Willis, "My Propagandist, My Spokesperson," Like Kryptonite to Stupid, September 27, 2005.
- "Senate Democrat May Block Nominee for Pentagon Post," Associated Press (Washington Post), December 14, 2005. re Senator Carl Levin
- "Bush bypasses Senate to install new deputy defense secretary," Associated Press (Boston Globe), January 4, 2006.
- "Pentagon Finally Gets New Press Spokesman -- A Year After He Said U.S. TV Networks Were Aiding Terrorists," Editor & Publisher, April 7, 2006.