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Our revelation last week that the US of A will attempt to win Middle Eastern hearts and minds by pumping out a weekly celebtastic show featuring the antics of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears didn't go down too well at the Voice Of America.

It appears we were too quick to condemn Splash News and Pictures' contribution to the War on Terror®, which we claimed was aimed at defusing potential al-Qaeda suicide bombers by exposing them to the considerable and deliciously befreckled delights of Lindsay Lohan.

Steve Redisch, VOA Executive Editor, wasn't best impressed. He protested:

Mr. Haines: I do wish that you would have made an attempt to contact Voice of America for some sort of comment before deciding to republish and embellish a story that did not include any comment from VOA. For the record, VOA's charter directs it to “present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.” Hollywood, its celebrities and American media are among the United States’ largest institutions and exports. VOA has an obligation to report on it, explain it and give it context. In the past, VOA has acquired various celebrity, music and Hollywood news programs.

Independent research and feedback from our audiences around the world indicate an large interest in American pop culture. The Splash program was viewed and approved by representatives of VOA’s language program services --- people who come from the regions VOA broadcasts are directed. VOA exercises its editorial judgment and production values on each segment and program to be ensure standards are maintained.

Fair enough. Presumably "balanced and comprehensive projection", means an entertaining mashup of howling Lesbian prison gang ordeals, a "Hollywood DUI of the Week" spot, top tips on how to (allegedly) conceal Bolivian marching powder in your furry front bottom, and highlights of the latest celebutard DIY grumble flick to splash stickily across the interwebs - suitably edited to make sure standards are maintained and local sensibilities pampered. ®

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