The Corner

The Obama State Department Parodies Itself

U.S., EU, and Ukrainian government accounts have been using the Twitter hashtag “#UnitedforUkraine” in the messages they broadcast on the social network about the situation between Russia and Ukraine (see some examples). Today, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account started using it in their messages too. Like this one, relaying a quote from John Kerry’s hockey buddy and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov:

In total seriousness, the State Department’s top spokesman expressed hope that this might be a breakthrough, representing a kind of commitment from the Russians (rather than, you know, a joke):

But at today’s State press briefing today, when Psaki was asked about how Russia has adopted #UnitedforUkraine, she was less sanguine. ”I don’t think they’re living by their hashtag,” she said. Now that’s cringeworthy — nearly perfect public diplomacy undone by inconsistency, a messaging mistake as old as the ages.

Perhaps that issue was less important when Psaki’s tweet was part of a coordinated show of force by the U.S., with another State Department official deploying another social network around the same time:

Because one might easily ask: How many selfies does the hashtag have?

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.


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