Media Influence on Public Policy Essays

1861 Words Apr 18th, 2009 8 Pages
Policymaking is a political process which is affected by various social and economic factors (Hofferbert, 1974) and media systems play an integral role in shaping the social context in which policies are developed. Through the media, citizens learn how government policies will affect them, and governments gain feedback on their policies and programs. Media systems act as the primary channels between those who might want to influence policy and the policymakers '' controlling the scope of political discourse and regulating the flow of information. Textbook policymaking follows an orderly sequence where problems are identified, solutions devised, policies adopted, implemented, and lastly evaluated (Mazamanian & Sabatier, 1989). In reality, …show more content…
This effect does not refer to the sole influence of CNN on policymaking, but rather on the power of global media networks to determine political processes through selective coverage of certain issues. This is particularly important, as most of the public rely on the media for access to foreign policy information (Brown & Vincent, 1995). Gilboa notes that: “The [CNN] concept was initially suggested by politicians and officials haunted by the Vietnam media myth, the confusion of the post'' Cold War era, and the communications revolution. Despite evidence to the contrary (Hallin, 1986), many leaders still believe that critical television coverage caused the American defeat in Vietnam. Since then, many have viewed the media as an adversary to government policies in areas such as humanitarian intervention and international negotiation.” (Gilboa, 2005, p. 37)

To determine whether the media has the power to influence policymaking, Robinson (2000) devised the ‘policy'' media interaction model’ (See Table 1), using the theoretical framework of press'' state relations in the United States outlined by Hallin (1986). This model was applied to a number of US humanitarian interventions, which took place in the 1990s. The results showed, that critical reporting by the media with a strong pro-intervention frame had a ‘strong’ role in shaping the US government policies when policymakers were uncertain about their actions but a ‘weak’ role when government policies
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