The Impact of the Media on National Security Policy Decision Making

  • October 01, 1994
  • Dr Douglas V Johnson II

What is the impact of the media upon national security policy decision making? Do network news personalities exert genuine power over the national command authority? Does the photograph of a mob dragging the body of a dead American soldier through the streets drive policy decisions? If the answers to these questions are "Yes," then the claim made by William Randolph Hearst is correct, and national policy is at the mercy of the media. In asking whether, or to what extent, these questions might be answered in the affirmative, the author of this study has raised as many additional questions. The impact of the Information Age is being felt right now, but what the long-term impact may be requires considerable further study. The mere fact that personal computers are proliferating and with them FAX and E-mail capability does not necessarily mean that we are moving into an age of increased public involvement in government nor that the groups actively interested in foreign affairs will change dramatically. But it might.