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What Was the CNN Effect? Essay

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Updated: Apr 1st, 2020

Media has the ability to shape the public opinion meaning it influences the views, perspectives, and the reasoning of individuals in society. In many parts of the world, it has been utilized effectively to control the behavior of individuals in the sense that it determines what they consume in the market, the type of leaders elected, and the form of culture to adopt. CNN is of the media stations owned by the US government, which has always been employed in marketing the country’s foreign policy abroad.

During the Cold War, the television channel was given specific mandate of ensuring that American ideology was applied in various economies, something that was successful because a number of countries decided to incorporate liberalist ideas into their financial systems. Because of CNN, many countries of the south believed that the US was concerned with their welfare, yet the reality was that the media station was simply a propaganda tool meant to strengthen the American presence globally.

During the reign of Reagan and Clinton in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the US was engaged in multiple wars with the main aim of outsmarting the USSR, as the two world hegemonies were concerned with power. The media station was employed effectively in circulating false information in favor of the US while discrediting the opponent (Bennett 18). In fact, the US strategists and foreign policymakers had special programs that were aired at strategic hours for the entire world to watch.

When Iraq entered into war with Afghanistan, the media station engaged in discriminative reporting whereby the opponent was termed as the belligerent state whose aim was to attack and kill innocent citizens, including children and women. Many people sympathized with Iraq and supported the idea of sending the US troops to salvage the situation yet the reality was that the American strategists, who were concerned with achieving state interests, fueled the war.

When the US joined the war, the media station described the weapons possessed by American soldiers as the most sophisticated, something that weakened the fighting power of the antagonists forcing them to surrender even before they started fighting. The American populace was opposed to the war because of its costs, but the media station was determined to change the perception of people by reporting the events in a manner justifying the invasion.

Many individuals backing the Reagan and Clinton administrations were concerned with the way in which the regimes spent public funds in fighting the war that could not benefit the majority. Unfortunately, the US was not fighting to gain anything, but instead, it was only focused on minimizing the power of the USSR, as the foreign policy employed at the time was contentment whereby the influence of socialism on world affairs had to be controlled.

Because of this, the media had to be utilized to explain to the supporters that the war had a significant meaning since it was supposed to liberate people from the chains of defective economic policies. Consequently, the US government, under the two leaders received massive support from powerful individual and states globally.

In Europe, many states crossed over from socialism to liberalism only because of the information they received through CNN and many more decided to realign themselves with the US and its capitalistic policies, as the media station clarified the perceived controversial issues.

Works Cited

Bennett, Livingston. When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media From Katrina to Iraq. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007. Print.

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