Media in the US - Case Study

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Sewanee University of the South
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US is a democratic society, where media freedom has been very important for the achievement of the democracy. It is based on the fact that the constitution allows for the freedom of speech. The media in US has been growing greatly and this can be confirmed through the development of 24 hour television stations which have great impact in the world. An example is the Cable News Network that air news 24 hours every day, keeping the people informed about whatever is happening in the various parts of the world. The advancement in technology has been key for the industry, considering that it now enables television stations broadcast events as they happen, keeping the people informed about whatever is happening. The other media also remain very important for the people in the US, as well as the government. The continuous development of the freedom of the media has led to the government having journalists in Whitehouse who also accompany politicians to various places that they go, to get updates about what is happening. The companies such as CNN have studios in the various parts of the world and this is why they can keep the American people updated about what the leaders are doing in the foreign countries and the response by the foreign governments in such places.

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In the US, there is the emergence of what is now known as the CNN effect, where the people are very interested in whatever happens in the US, so that they can make decisions and put pressure on their government in case it is not doing well. The media does not affect the foreign policies that are made by executive arm of the government, but also the decisions that are made by Congress and the judiciary. Experts now belief that foreign policy is not determined by the constitution and other values that the US has held in the past, but by the media, which shapes the decisions by the people and the pressure they give to their government to make decisions. The media has empowered people in the US, and the leaders do not have to make decisions based on their wish and view, but consider the interests and needs of the people when making such decisions.

From the 1990s, the media appeared to shape the policies that the US government was making in various ways. In Somalia, there was great famine because of the civil war in the country, and the media covered whatever was happening in such countries in a great way. As a result, there was an increasing pressure on the US government to help deal with the humanitarian crisis. Due to the sovereignty international law, US was reluctant to sending ground troops to the countries that were affected by the various humanitarian crisis and this is why it would always use air support to help people in the affected countries. President Bush decision to send ground troops to Somalia to assist with handling of the hunger in the country was a sign of the powerful role that the media can play in influencing foreign policy.

While media in the US plays a great role in influencing the policies and decisions that the leaders make, the leaders have learned how they can use the media to effectively influence the policies that are adapted. Some leaders make foreign policy decisions, and seek to get the support of the citizens to ensure that the policies are implemented. An example is the invasion of Iraq in the year 2003. During the period, President Bush had already decided that he was to go to war with Iraq, and ensure that the President Saddam Hussein was removed from power. He launched a campaign that informed the people that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and was a great threat to the security of the US and the rest of the world. He carefully demanded that there be negotiations to ensure that the country was disarmed, while in reality, he was ready to fight Iraq. He was not interested in negotiations but was interested in gaining public support through ensuring that the president and the members of his administration always emphasized on the need to disarm Iraq. Regardless of the fact that Saddam Hussein emphasized that he had no nuclear weapons, President Bush continued to emphasize that the country had nuclear weapons which was dangerous.

The evidence in this case reveal that US president in the past has used lies that are directed to the media as a way of ensuring that they influence the public support, were able to invade Iraq. The incident in this case shows that the political class have mastered the technique of influencing the media and ensuring the people are persuaded to support a certain foreign policy. The media do not always encourage the leaders to make the most appropriate foreign policies because the political class have the power of information and can mislead the media. This is why it was later realized that the information that was sent to the media was misleading to the members of the public (Seib, 2008). The media does not affect the local people only, but also the foreign countries that are allied to the US. When there is widespread information that US had evidence of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, the countries in the rest of the world also sided with the US president and helped it invade Iraq. They did not verify the information before giving the support that was needed, because the media which was in a great way global, was reaching the people in such countries. This shows that the media in the global world in a great way influences the people in other countries, leading to such countries supporting the US in terms of foreign policy.

The media in the US seems to control the foreign policy to a great extent, because the pictures that they present to the living room of the people in the United States which creates anger. In the case of Somalia, the media created the need to send troops to the country so that the country would achieve its objective of restoring hope to the people. The fact is that a democratically elected government like that in the US will always do whatever the citizens wish it to do so that it can still receive the support I the elections that are to come in the future. The pictures of people who were dying in Somalia angered the US citizens and compelled the government to send group troops (Rasul & Mukhtar, 2015). This is an example of what is called CNN effect, where the media in a great way influence the policy that the government formulates. In the same country, the media was displaying the pictures of the soldiers who were killed in the country because of the civil war. The same pictures angered the US citizens who now called for the end of the US mission in Somalia. This led to the famous saying that CNN took the US to Somalia and also removed it from the country.

According to Seib (2008), there are policies that are now regarded as a mistake because of the fact that they should not have been implemented by the US government. The media played a great role in the invasion of Libya, where the media was able to cover events that were nonofficial. The media was able to emphasize so much o the non-official news that they would collect from Libya and this led to the portrayal that there were the serious humanitarian crisis that was happening in the country. This triggered the response by the Obama administration who were interested in ensuring that the administration did not continue mistreating some part of the society. This was done without proper research which would enable the US government to understand that there was a lot of tribal conflicts that existed in the country and with the absence of the government, it would be worse for the people (Rosati & Scott, 2011). The fact that the media was the major guiding principle was the images that were displayed by the media.

The media has always been used by the United States to cover up the failed policies that have been implemented by the country. The war between the US and Al-Qaida with the ambition to kill Osama Bin Laden was characterized by the huge death of civilians. There were daily pictures of what was happening in the region and the suffering that people were undergoing. In all these cases, the US citizens, as well as the rest of the world, was not happy with the situation though fighting the terrorist groups and killing its leader was very important. Up to day, there have been allegations that the US did not actually Kill Osama, but was killed by some other troops. The president and the administration would never admit that they were not the ones who killed the terrorist leader, but had to lie to the citizens (Rasul & Mukhtar, 2015). This is an example of how the US government uses the media to mislead the people and assure them that their policies are working for the government.

In the case of Iraq, President Obama was facing the challenge of having to withdraw troops because the people were now aware that the reason for attacking Iraq was not valid. The fact is that President Bush was after achieving some other objectives, but not preventing Iraq from getting weapons of mass destruction. The people were not happy with the lies, and this is why the people were keen to choose a president who promised to remove the US troops from Iraq. The society was tired of receiving bodies of fallen soldiers from Iraq. Even if there were a few soldiers who died in the warfront, the fact is that the media was magnifying the whole events by ensuring that they show the arrival of bodies and the burial events (Rosati & Scott, 2011). This made the society more aware that their people were dying at a great rate. Whenever the parent of a dead soldier regret that their son had died in the war front, the media magnified the issue to show that the parents in the US were against the presence of US troops in Iraq. This is why after Obama had won, there was the process of removing troops from Iraq.

The war in Syria also posed a great challenge during Obama administration, because there were a massive violation of human rights in the country, where the government was even using chemical weapons to attack civilians. There were also incidences when Russia was bombing civilians instead of attacking the terrorists. The media was also portraying the power that Russia had at its disposal. There were also complaints that Obama had made a mistake to remove the troops too early from the Middle East, leading to the spread of terrorists in the region. While Obama was committed to ensuring that the troops were not sent to the Middle East again, the withdraw was delayed, and some troops remain up to date. There are many incidences when the administration intervened using drones instead of military troops. This helped to balance the pressure that was being created by the media in the society. The media portrayed the need to intervene and fight ISIS in the region and at the same time, reduce the military troops in the region and this is why the technology of drone use was perfect in the situation. In such a case, the media had managed to shape the foreign policy for the US once more.

There has been pressure from the media for the US to do something about the North Korean regime that has been keen to produce weapons of mass destruction. The media personalities have majored on various issues happening about the country, explaining to the US people and the rest of the world about the danger that the regime faces. The media covers various events whenever there are a test of weapons and other items related to the nuclear technology. There has been coverage of how people in the country are suffering at the expenses of the development of nuclear weapons (Rasul & Mukhtar, 2015). Regardless of the dangerous nature associated with journalism in the country, various media have covered events in the country. The effects have been that US government has been under pressure to act. This is why there have been various sanctions against the North Korea regime, to ensure that there is...

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