Strategic communications, public diplomacy, information operations, image and perception management, influence activities, Psychological Operations (PSYOPS), and Military Information Support Operations (MISO) are all terms used by different branches of the US government to describe manners of selectively transmitting information, through varied forms of media, to foreign citizens and governments. The information transmitted usually depicts a positive perception of the American empire, and /or mars the reputation of groups in opposition to the empire. These forms of pro-American empire propaganda, are used in order to legitimize the empire's use of hard power, and make its culture and ideologies more attractive to others, in order to influence their views, opinions and activities. Nye (1990) terms the successful use of these measures as “soft co-optive power” (p. 32).
One of the most underestimated, powerful and successful forms of “soft co-optive power,” in terms of spreading a positive image of American empire, has been American television and film media. American television and film media is not always created or diffused, to specifically influence non-Americans; neither does it always transmit the messages the empire wishes to diffuse foreign audiences; nor has it always been received and interpreted by others, as intended, however, it remains incalculably influential on the whole. This paper will argue that American television and film media has better accomplished the task of “winning hearts and minds,” and spreading American styled democracy and neo-liberal economic ideology in Saudi Arabia, than US government methods, specifically created to accomplish these tasks, have done. As American television and film media and its influence is diffused all over the globe, a comprehensive discussion of its influence would be too large and unwieldy a task to accomplish on these pages. As such, this paper will use the spread of American media in Saudi Arabia, as an example, to discuss the impact of American television and film media on the views, opinions, and actions of foreign citizens and foreign policy-makers; The ways in which the US government attempts to manage the image of the empire, transmitted abroad, through media that is produced both by the government itself and Hollywood; As well as, how this media has helped to spread American neo-liberal style economic ideology through television syndication and movie distribution agreements. Saudi Arabia serves as a prime example for this paper, due to the long and sometimes conflicted political and economic relationship it shares with the US.
The Impact of the Diffusion of American Mass Media in Saudi Arabia
The ARMACO broadcasts
Before beginning the discussion of the influence of modern American media in Saudi Arabia, a short history of broadcasting in Saudi Arabia will be given.
The reproduction of the human form, whether its reproduced in sculpture, art, or film, has long been...