Public Diplomacy and International Politics: The Symbolic Constructs of Summits and International Radio News

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 197 pages

This book examines international radio news coverage of the four superpower summit meetings between Soviets and Americans from 1987 to 1990. It concentrates on the symbolic constructs used by radio services to report about the summits, including their treatments of the two superpowers, their leaders, and their perspectives as recorded in interviews, press conferences and releases, joint communiques, and briefings. The study assesses the degree of success enjoyed by each of the superpowers in directing the nature of international news coverage, particularly the public relations battle between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. It also weighs the viability of specific talking points written to direct U.S. summit statements by the National Security Council, and the degree to which news coverage was tainted by propaganda. Finally, it is able to suggest the nature of each service's contribution to diversity in international news flow, and to the ongoing debate about the equality of the international communication and information order.

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International Broadcasting as Public Diplomacy
Symbolic Constructs in International
The 1987 Washington Superpower Summit
The 1988 Moscow Superpower Summit
The 1989 Summits
The 1990 Washington Superpower Summit
Trends in News Coverage
Symbolic Constructs and Historical
Treatment Coefficients for NSC Themes
Treatment Coefficients for Summit Principals

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Page 14 - Commission's statement of five things our society needs from its press today: "1) a truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of the day's events in a context which gives them meaning...
Page 26 - the deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behaviour to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist' (Jowett and O'Donnell 1994: 4).
Page 50 - What persuades men and women to mistake each other from time to time for gods or vermin is ideology. One can understand well enough how human beings may struggle and murder for good material reasons - reasons connected, for instance, with their physical survival. It is much harder to grasp how they may come to do so in the name of something as apparently abstract as ideas. Yet ideas are what men and women live by, and will occasionally die for.
Page 52 - Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.
Page 51 - The conflict between the Communist nations led by the Soviet Union and the Western nations led by the United States, fought by all means — ideological, economic, political, and limited military action — short of total war.
Page 23 - VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive. "(2) VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions. "(3) VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussion and opinion on these policies.
Page 39 - Symbols distill or synthesize a more complex social and political reality and evoke "an attitude, a set of impressions, or a pattern of events associated through time, through space, through logic, or through imagination with the symbol" (Edelman, 1964: 3). As the currency of the communication process, symbols mediate between macro- and micro-level political behavior. That is, symbols are employed by political elites — that is, politicians, policy entrepreneurs, interest groups, and the media,...

About the author (1994)

ROBERT S. FORTNER is Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has also written International Communication: History, Conflict, and Control of the Global Metropolis (1993). He has taught at Northwestern University, Drake University, the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, and The George Washington University, where he was founding chair of the Department of Communication. He has done international research for the BBC, VOA, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and has served as a panel member on VOA satellite broadcasting for the National Research Council.

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