News Media

Authored by: Douglas A. Van Belle

Routledge Handbook of American Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  August  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415800884
eBook ISBN: 9780203878637
Adobe ISBN: 9781135967352


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In 1993, George F. Kennan (1993) coined the term “CNN effect” in an article arguing that the global news media had become the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy. This was a key turning point in the study of the role of the news media in U.S. foreign policy. Kennan’s cautionary tale of the horrors of a world where global powers were tossed about by the vicissitudes of the media, most notably its obsession with dramatic images, acted as something of a catalyst. In subsequent years, there has been a great deal of research into the role of the news media in U.S. foreign policy and today it is an all but necessary part of any summary of contemporary issues and research. In light of this sudden rise in the salience of the news media as a significant factor, scholars and students alike can probably be forgiven for approaching the media as if it were a new influence upon U.S. foreign policy. However, no matter how obvious those things might appear to be, what has become the common wisdom offers a very poor representation of the reality of news media and American foreign policy.

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