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Effects of Global Television News on U.S. Policy in International Conflict

  • Eytan Gilboa

Abstract

The expansion of global all news television networks such as CNN International, BBC World, Sky News, and Fox News, and the emergence of new non-Western networks such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya have fascinated politicians, government officials, journalists, and scholars. This fascination resulted from a perception of the media in general, and television in particular, as being the most important power broker in politics. Mediademocracy, medialism, mediapolitik, mediacracy, and teledemocracy are but a few postmodern terms coined to describe this new media-dominated political system.1 Application of the same perception to foreign policy and international relations yielded similar terms and concepts such as telediplomacy and the CNN effect.2 A basic assumption lies behind all these concepts. It asserts that images of what is happening in the world are given greater significance than what really happens. Since television creates images, policymaking has primarily become what the veteran television journalist Robert MacNeil calls “a contest of images.”3 Based on his practical experience, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger confirmed this observation by commenting that officials asking for his advice used to ask him what to do, but now ask him what to say.4 The “contest of images” perception has also dominated the discussion of the media’s role in covering terror and war since the attacks of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists on New York and Washington in September 2001 and the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Keywords

Foreign Policy International Conflict Television News News Coverage Humanitarian Crisis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Philip Seib 2005

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  • Eytan Gilboa

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