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Foreign Policy and the Media

Monroe E. Price


There are at least two salient questions when thinking about foreign policy and the media. The first is whether foreign policy is affected by media considerations: have modern technological developments meant that foreign policy is increasingly affected by media concerns? The second is whether there is what might be called a foreign policy of media structures, namely an interest by an individual state (or the international community) in the mode by which media is developed through an interdependent set of nations (→  Media Policy ). The answer to both questions is yes, and the issues are interconnected. The term CNN effect is used to describe a variety of putative consequences of new media technology for foreign policy (→  Technology and Communication ). The term was first used during the Gulf War of 1990. The argument was that because of the rise of →  CNN and its style of reporting, leaders learned more from television than from their own officials about what was going on both on the battlefield and in the diplomatic sphere. By conducting diplomacy in real time and in the fishbowl of a global news service, leaders could directly reach past official and autocratic gatekeepers to broad civil publics (→  Globalization of the Media ). Stephen Livingston (1997) has listed three elements of this phenomenon: (1) →  agenda setting (trumping the agenda-setting effort of the government); ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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