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Essay on The CNN Effect

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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 19...


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...vate citizens, the fourth estate holds a great deal of power and responsibility in the messages that they deliver and in the issues that they cover. The CNN Effect has the ability to set the agenda and to drive policy initiatives through the choices of what conflicts or actions the media chooses to cover. Because limited resources are available to news networks, their choices in covering certain stories are crucial to the livelihoods of various peoples experiencing crisis around the world. This is the case because the news programming that is delivered allows society to become aware of issues around the globe and ideally gives people the necessary knowledge to make educated conclusions about those issues. The CNN Effect exemplifies the great deal of power held by the media and shows how the media has the ability to influence all members of society in various ways.



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