Judith A. McHale
Judith A. McHale is the U.S. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, a State Department position responsible for leading "America's engagement with the people of the world." She was confirmed and sworn in as Under Secretary in May 2009,  after being nominated by President Barack Obama in April 2009. 
McHale is "a longtime friend" of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a "Democratic mega-donor," according to the Washington Post. "McHale has been close to Clinton for decades and was an early and prolific fundraiser for the former first lady's presidential bid. During the 2008 campaign cycle, McHale donated $109,600 to Democratic politicians and campaign committees." 
Questions about her heading public diplomacy
Political science and international affairs professor Marc Lynch called McHale's nomination as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy "a terrible, terrible selection. ... Appointing someone with no experience in public diplomacy but with a resume which 'involves selling a message' has already been tried: the first post-9/11 Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Charlotte Beers, whose tenure lasted only 17 months (October 2001-March 2003), focused on 'branding' America through television advertising showing happy Muslim-Americans, and is generally considered to be an utter failure." 
Lynch later added, "Anyone who achieved what she has achieved in her life must be smart, strong, and tough. But ... I still worry about the fact that she has no background in public diplomacy or strategic communications. That may leave her poorly placed to deal with the current delicate balance between the Pentagon and State Department." 
McHale served as "the Managing Partner of the GEF/Africa Growth Fund, a private equity investment fund focused on making investments in the consumer goods and services sector in Africa. Prior to launching the fund, Ms. McHale served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Communications, Inc., the parent company of cable television's Discovery Channel, from June 2004 through November 2006. She previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Discovery Communications from 1995 until June 2004 and served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel from 1989 to 1995. Ms. McHale is a Director of Polo/Ralph Lauren Corporation. Ms. McHale also serves on the boards of the Sister-to-Sister, Everyone has a Heart Foundation, Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Africa Society." 
- Managing Partner, GEF Africa Consumer Fund
- Board of Governors, Partnership for Public Service
- Former Director, Africare
- Board of Directors, Sister-to-Sister
- Board of Directors, Everyone has a Heart Foundation
- Board of Directors, Vital Voices Global Partnership
- Board of Directors, the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa
- Board of Directors, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
- Board of Directors, the National Democratic Institute
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Charlotte Beers
- Discovery Communications
- Hillary Rodham Clinton
- James K. Glassman
- Karen P. Hughes
- Margaret D. Tutwiler
- Obama administration
- Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
- "Judith A. McHale: Under Secretary, Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs," U.S. State Department website, accessed June 2009.
- Press release, "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts," White House Office of the Press Secretary, April 14, 2009.
- Al Kamen, "A Lovely Consolation Prize for Ms. Kennedy?," Washington Post, January 23, 2009.
- Marc Lynch, "Why Judith McHale would be a bad public diplomacy choice," ForeignPolicy.com, January 23, 2009.
- Marc Lynch, "Still waiting on public diplomacy," ForeignPolicy.com, February 17, 2009.
- Judith A. McHale, Forbes, accessed March 18, 2009.
- "Advisory Board of Governors: Judith McHale," Partnership for Pubic Service website, accessed April 2009.
- "2005 Annual Report," Africare.
- Spencer Ackerman, "Future of Public Diplomacy Unsettled at State: Experts Wonder Whether Vision Will Be PR or National Security," Washington Independent, February 17, 2009.
- Amy Harder, "Glassman Weighs In On His Successor At State," National Journal, April 16, 2009.
- Judith A. McHale, "Public Diplomacy: A National Security Imperative: Address at the Center for a New American Security, Washington, DC," (this was McHale's first public address as Under Secretary), June 11, 2009.