Richard Stengel was sworn in as undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs at the US State Department on Tuesday, 15 April 2014.
During his career as a journalist, he was a press correspondent in South Africa. Then he became director of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and finally managing editor of Time Magazine (since 2006). Under his leadership, Time acquired a markedly political profile, in the service of the government’s "noble" causes.
In 2008, he served as co-moderator, along with PBS journalist Judy Woodruff, of the debate between the two presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, whose team he subsequently joined.
Upon taking office, Richard Stengel brought up Vladimir Putin’s New York Times op-ed calling out "American exceptionalism", asserting on the contrary that a nation founded on the ideal of liberty must be exceptional. According to him, the primary goal of U.S. propaganda must be to promote the belief in the United States as "the land of freedom."