Term Paper: Media and United States Foreign Policy Accounts

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Media and United States Foreign Policy

Accounts of Involvement

The initial role of media was limited to the deliverance of news report, but with the passage of time and introduction of technologies, the media under went restructuring and a change in its policies and objectives were observed. The media has associated itself with its foremost task of covering the news report, and providing the complete insight to the viewers and readers. However the media has added more dimensions to its previous adopted work style. The media has involved the public opinion in the reporting process, and substantial weightage is given to the public opinion in terms of weekly or monthly polls on the topic of relevance and significance. All these activities have contributed towards reducing the spaces between the elected representative and the public. The foreign policies of United States are subject to heavy criticism and evaluation by the correspondents in front of the public, and the officials are requested to answer to all the reservations. The conduct of such activities of introduced an open medium of accountability where the foreign policies and related issues are subject to approval and criticism. The government is therefore under the pressure to modify the policies if it fails to receive appreciation from the media and public. However similarly, the media can act as an interface between the government and the public to gather support and win consensus, media can play convincing role to win support for the government provided that the government officials have done their homework.

There have been many instances in past when the government has shifted from its foreign principles much due to the involvement of the media, for government it is important to gain the trust of the media so that a positive public impression can be secured and achieved. The vents of Iraqi occupation and attacks on Afghanistan were carried forward with strong support and involvement of the media in the process of information gathering and intelligence activities. However there have been instances when the supported media has widely condemned the government for their inhumane and unlawful acts with relate prisoners, and refugees.

HOW HAS LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTED TO SHAPING THE UNITED STATE'S INTERNATIONAL POLICES AND RELATIONS

INTRODUCTION

The progress technology had vast impact on the human perception and society. The technology has further broadened the horizon of human mind, and it has been observed that plans have been implemented, and much struggle has been launched to adapt the living standards with the ongoing technological progress. Media has been dominant recipient of all the comforts and expansion opportunities that have been facilitated by the technological advent. Newspaper and electronic media has bypassed all the geographical, social, political and cultural constraints in order to carry forward the news coverage and other related activities. The technology has provided sufficient provisions to the media for conducting comprehensive, in-depth insight of the event that is of public interest.

Newspaper and the electronic media has shaped and molded the public opinion with reference to world affairs, in particular with foreign nations and their adopted policy on international affairs. Media, through its news reporting and information gathering and dissemination activities have made public visible to the foreign affairs conducted by the members of international community. The participation and the influence of media are dependent upon the country, and its background. In case of a country that holds high profile, the media operates in coordination with the government officials, people with political background and the bureaucratic linked with foreign services, and other important department of ministries. The media is involved in promoting the government policy, agenda. It is also involved in the dissemination of vital and significant information related to official matters. Media is major source of information for the government, and provides an infrastructure to the government that is responsible for the providing credible information to the officials. 'Critics contend the media is often reactive in foreign policy, rather than proactive' (Washington Times), media is house of people who pass the judgment and formulates policies that in some of the cases gather the positive nod and support from the government officials. Media permits the government to determine and synchronize foreign policy agenda, through the courtesy of media the government has been successful in focusing on the core issues related to foreign affairs. Media provides sufficient resources and information that can be applied by the government in its dealings towards any specific country or region. The role of media has been that of participant and observer with reference to the foreign policy of the country, media is involved in investigating, reporting, and commenting on foreign affairs, irrespective of the leadership of the country.

In case of United States, the media has been playing vital role in shaping the foreign policy of the country, the country has referred to the media in most of the instances to shape and modify its policy towards other nations. On many occasions media's role and influence has bypassed the official representatives of the United States performing their ambassadorial assignments in different regions. In United States i.e. free nation, the media performs independently without any interference of the country's leadership. Media is successfully played crucial and proactive role in shaping the public opinion about the government's adopted foreign policy with reference to any particular event, personality, and issues.

MEDIA AND UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY

The United States foreign policy makers have been successful in interacting with the media in highly complex and synergetic way. The media company's have been rising, and have secured permanent place and influence over the different think tanks that are handling and monitoring the U.S. foreign policy. The media has expanded and developed into mighty force, which has successfully influenced the substance of American foreign policy and the process that formulates it. 'It has been said that the strength of this influence was powerful enough to have helped bring an end to American involvement in Vietnam, and was a significant factor in President Carter's failed bid for re-election by way of the November 1980 hostage crisis in Iran' (Media, Technology and United States Foreign Policy). Media channels have applied their resources in giving coverage to the dramatic images of starving masses, shelled populations, or dead American soldiers that resulted in the sharp reaction of the public for demanding change and shift of the foreign policy. According to the anonymous policy maker, 'these temporary emotional responses may conflict with the more considered judgment of foreign policy officials, forcing them to take action that will soon have to be reversed or modified'. However the influence of the media over the foreign policy has been discouraged and termed futile, 'if foreign policy decisions are made by popular whim, then there is no place, not only for myself, but for what have traditionally been regarded as the responsible deliberative organs of our government, in both executive and legislative branches' (George F. Kennan U.S. Troop in Somalia). The former secretary general of United Nations Boutros Ghali condemned the media influence over the policymakers of international powers, 'for the past two centuries, it was law that provided the source of authority for democracy. Today, law seems to be replaced by opinion as the source of authority, and the media serve as the arbiter of public opinion'.

The role of media can be categorized as, Catalyst; in this case the media reports reduce the policymaking process, giving officials minimum time for responding back quickly. Watchdog; if the executive branch policy is poorly articulated then the media reports focus on the U.S. public opinion, and mold the foreign policy accordingly. The media has played catalytic role by applying the latest technology for gathering coverage, the current media is in position to transmit graphic images almost instantaneously. The release of data that such quick rate to the public and international community has compelled the government to formulate instant decisions and policies, the traditional practices of policy making structures have lost their grounds. The government is forced to experience unavoidable, and this has resulted in government taking swift measures for shaping its foreign objectives with reference to any particular occurrence. The Real-time reports have forced the government officials to explain and sell their policies to the public in detail, and justifying each and every objective associated with it. The government has experienced a difficult situation due to the increasing momentum of the global mass media, the media has placed the American administration in dirty situation where the administrators have to explain the foreign policy and gather public support for it. The policy of the lawmakers has therefore been subject to modification according to the public wishes and media reports. However in the case of print media the policymakers have the allowance to frame events, and gather the public support accordingly. However if the government officials and policy makers are organized, straightforward and clear about the objectives and consequences of the policy, and are able to justify those convincingly, the media can be strong tool for… [END OF PREVIEW]

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