Edited By Simon Cottle and Glenda Cooper
Part Four: NGO Communications: Impacts, Audiences, and Media Ecology
NGO Communications: Impacts, Audiences, and Media Ecology p a r t f o u r News coverage does not in itself determine policy despite what proponents of the CNN effect might contend. But it does wield influence in the democratic interaction between public and government. (Seib, 2002) The degree of influence of media coverage upon policy is part of a longstanding debate. There are many and varied strands to these relationships and the way that media coverage may or may not influence political decision making in relation to foreign policy. Trying to separate out the precise impact of media effects is invari- ably complex and often opaque. This chapter analyses the state of the contem- porary debates. But it also uses historical analysis to assess the arguments about how media influence affected decision making in the period after the television coverage of the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s, which was a key moment in the way that television reported humanitarian crises. c n n e f f e c t d e f i n e d The term ‘CNN effect’ was first formally used during the first Gulf War in 1991 to describe the way that real-time news coverage of foreign stories appeared to af- fect the decision making of political elites, either directly or through the influence upon domestic audiences. It was defined as a ‘generic term for the ability of real- time communications technology via the news media to provoke a major response from domestic audiences and...
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