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The influence of media on US foreign policy is not, however, a new phenomenon. In the 1890s, two newspapers allegedly brought the Americans to the doorstep of war against a European country. The present contention on the effect of media on the US foreign policymaking implies a more pervasive, consistent and more powerful influence, although there is also an opposing contention that it is media itself which is being manipulated by the government to influence public opinion. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the collapse of the Cold War has taken away many of the constraints that used to hound media in the reportage of events all over the world. In addition, communications technology grew by leaps and bounds during this period allowing media networks access to almost anything in all corners of the world. The inevitable question that, therefore confronts many is whether or not US foreign policymaking has become susceptible to media’s growing influence and is now being led by it. Albeit media has increased its impact on public opinion and even on policymakers to the extent of speeding policymaking, studies and researches done on the subject show that its impact is not significant enough to alter foreign policies per se or change the course of policymaking.
Historically, significant changes in US foreign policy occurred in turn-around periods where policies drastically changed from one paradigm to another. The 1890s and the 1930s, for example, were watersheds in US foreign policies. Today, after the collapse of the Cold War, the world is witnessing another evolution of US foreign policy as an imperceptible confluence of forces are seemingly dictating upon it to reformulate in the light of emerging events that see the economic rise of certain countries threatening to outdo and outrun America’s own (Trubowitz 1998 1-4).
The change in foreign policy in the 1890s was spurred by the explosion of the economy at home. Although the US was used to dealings with
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What impact does the media and public opinion have on American foreign policy?
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