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Cover US Foreign Policy

10. Media and US foreign policy  

Piers Robinson

This chapter examines the influence of media and public opinion on U.S. foreign policy and vice versa. It considers the extent to which the media and public have been manipulated by the government, and the extent to which public opinion and media have shaped foreign policy during tumultuous times such as the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It also explores the consequences of public opinion and media for U.S. power in the twenty-first century. The chapter describes pluralist and elite models of the public opinion/ media/foreign policy nexus, long with public and media diplomacy. It concludes with a discussion of the extent to which developments in communication technology have empowered U.S. public opinion and media, as well as the impact of this technology on global U.S. power and influence, in particular in the context of the current war on terror.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

10. The role of media and public opinion  

Piers Robinson

This chapter examines the relevance of media and public opinion to our understanding of foreign policy and international politics. It first considers whether public opinion influences foreign policy formulation, as argued by the pluralist model, or whether the public are politically impotent, as argued by the elite model. It then explores whether the media can influence foreign policy formulation, as argued by the pluralist model, or whether the media are fundamentally subservient to the foreign policy process, as argued by the elite model. It also integrates these competing arguments with theoretical frames used in the study of international relations: namely, realism, liberalism, and critical approaches (including constructivism and post-structuralism). The chapter concludes by discussing contemporary debates concerning organized persuasive communication and the ‘war on terror’.