The Cnn Effect Essay

2889 words - 12 pages

The CNN Effect has been described in many positive and negative ways. Former UN Security General Boutros-Ghali described CNN as “the sixteenth member of the Security Council (Gilboa, 2005).” While Colin Powell saw the network’s effect as being that “live television coverage doesn’t change the policy, but it does create the environment in which policy is made (Gilboa, 2005).” These two statements show that the CNN Effect has an impact both domestically and internationally as a major part of the world’s political process. The CNN Effect may be seen as a positive or a negative but despite one’s opinion it has had the varying effects of being part of the agenda setting process and acting as an accelerant. Although the CNN Effect, and the network, are relatively new phenomenon, as they have only been in existence since the 1980’s, this theory has had large effects on government, policy, and the way in which events are perceived and reacted to (Gilboa, 2005).
With the establishment of the Cable News Network, the CNN Effect was able to be created. CNN expanded in the early 1980’s and allowed global news to become a reality as their broadcasting became accessible in many parts of the world (Gilboa, 2005). Expansion was made possible through innovations in communication technology that made 24/7 broadcasting all over the globe a reality (Gilboa, 2005). CNN now has the ability to reach a potential worldwide audience of 1.2 billion people, which was made possible by these technological advances (Gunther, 2001). This expansion laid the groundwork for CNN to have the a far-reaching and very influential impact as the network’s programming targeted a variety of demographics (Government Accountability Office, 2010). In the mid 1980’s when Brezhnev died and Mikhail Gorbachev became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union he put policy into place that eventually resulted in the fall of the Soviet Union. This historic event was marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and with that came the end of a structured way of decision-making for US policy makers (Potter, et al., 2010). This lack of structure was the result of the US no longer having the policy of containment to rely upon for policy direction as they had for the previous 50 years. CNN became more relevant through their ability to deliver coverage globally as they became “a center of gravity” for US foreign policy which caused US foreign policy to become very crisis oriented (Livingston, 2005). This new direction in foreign policy was in large part the result of coverage of the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990’s. During the Persian Gulf War CNN delivered the first live, 24/7 war news coverage and did so exclusively from Baghdad (Gunther, 2001). This live coverage affected not only the general population but the eye of political leaders as well. This was the case because CNN’s coverage allowed for a constant feed of updates on what was occurring on the ground so that...

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