CNN’s Values and Its Influence on TV News

CNN’s Values and Its Influence on TV News

CNN’s Values and Its Influence on TV News

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Abstract

In this discussion, a discourse analysis is used to explore how CNN’s values and influence affect the way it presents global news to audiences, and how the approach of the media house affects public perception, attitude, and policy formulation. CNN has been scrutinized from a variety of perspectives, including ownership and finances, competition, and the manner in which news is produced. This article examines the research conducted on CNN’s guiding principles and how they affect television news in order to determine whether or not they are correct. In the context of CNN’s reporting for a range of audiences, including the general public, armed conflict, war and intervention, foreign policy, and diplomacy will all be examined.

This research investigates the extent to which the media influences public perception, attitudes, government policies, and a culture of media bias, all of which have the potential to alter the course of a society’s development. A good illustration of how the media may influence people’s thoughts, actions, and government policies is the CNN effect, which occurred in the late 1990s and is still relevant today in influencing the direction of policy by governments and humanitarian organizations. These topics are addressed via an examination of significant texts on the subject that have appeared in professional and academic journals during the last decade, which is done in a systematic and critical way. Interviews and focus groups are also used to gather qualitative data relating to personal perspectives on the values and influences of CNN as a news broadcast entity. All of these publications contain theoretical and comparative works, specific case studies, paradigms, and methodologies.

In the review of literature, the study highlights the need for impartiality in media broadcasts as a gatekeeper role for media hoses like CNN. The news media must be independent and impartial in order to offer factual information to the public. However, gatekeeping policies have changed since media content is only made available to the public after it has been vetted and controlled by media firms and organizations. As part of the process of choosing what gets on the news agenda each day, media houses filter content based on their position on the matter. CNN editors determine which sorts of content are appropriate to share with a media outlet’s audience and which are not, like the recent case of the conflict in Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, and Somalia. These issues not only raise questions about the media’s independence, but they also show the institution that performed the content-level analysis’s policy and news agenda.

In the confines of media, the CNN effect refers to the concept that 24-hour news networks have an influence on political and economic climates in the places where they are aired. The effect of CNN on Western foreign policy and the media’s power to affect politicians’ intentions are both instances of the idea of the fourth estate. Politicians are forced to comment on issues they would otherwise avoid, or even dictate policy direction such as the recent direction on the COVID-19 issues including vaccination and foreign policy direction with China. The CNN effect has two characteristics: First and foremost, the news media is self-governing, with the authority to choose its own editorial agenda. Second, and probably most importantly, it includes the capacity to ask politicians questions and get replies. As events develop, the media must become more aggressive, establish their own goals, and act more like enterprises propelled by events in general. Those watching television were horrified and bewildered in the wake of large-scale massacres in the US.

The study chose to use discourse analysis. Discourse analysis is a sort of qualitative study that examines how language is used and how people communicate with one another, as well as the events, processes, and behaviors that arise as a result of the meanings conveyed by the language. Through the use of data collected in the field, discourse analysis attempts to identify and categorize various meaning-making processes, networks, and behaviors. There are several ways to apply discourse analysis as an analytical approach, as well as many different places to begin with the method.

From the interviews and focus groups results, participants believe that one potential advantage of global, real-time media is that it may enable individuals to make choices more quickly. People tend to make snap judgments, which may be dangerous when CNN uses 24-hour media coverage of a breaking event. CNN’s international and real-time news coverage has had an impact on the way the foreign policy bureaucracy operates, particularly intelligence agencies and desk officers in the foreign policy docket, and the network is often seen as a policy acceleration tool. It is now necessary for intelligence services to compete with news organizations by producing their evaluations more quickly and by being prepared to defend their findings against data presented on CNN or other real-time channels.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

The expansion and diversification of CNN, which included the establishment of CNN International, have had a significant impact on many aspects of global communications and international relations, including technology, economics, cultural law, public opinion politics, and diplomacy, among other things. It has also had an impact on war and terrorism, human rights, environmental degradation, refugees, and health and health-related concerns, among other things. In the 1980s, neither academics nor professionals paid much attention to this issue (Hellmueller & Zhang, 2019), but CNN’s coverage of the Gulf War piqued the interest of many who wanted to learn more about it (Alitavoli, 2020). The conflict was a watershed moment in the history of communications, and particularly in the history of CNN, since it fundamentally altered the way the world views media coverage (Gabore, 2020). When a significant new actor joins the spheres of communications and international relations, it is critical to conduct both theoretical and empirical study in order to determine what role and relevance they will play in the future (Mutua & Oloo Ong’ong’a, 2020). CNN has been scrutinized from a variety of perspectives, including ownership and finances, competition, and the manner in which news is produced.

This article examines the research conducted on CNN’s guiding principles and how they affect television news in order to determine whether or not they are correct. In the context of CNN’s reporting for a range of audiences, including the general public, armed conflict, war and intervention, foreign policy, and diplomacy will all be examined. This research investigates the extent to which the media influences public perception, attitudes, government policies, and a culture of media bias, all of which have the potential to alter the course of a society’s development. A good illustration of how the media may influence people’s thoughts, actions, and government policies is the CNN effect, which occurred in the late 1990s and is still relevant today in influencing the direction of policy by governments and humanitarian organizations.

Nam and Chae (2022) note that researchers have not yet provided a full explanation of the CNN effect, thus have questioned whether it is a well-developed theory or just a catchy new phrase. It was early in the inquiry that the phrases “CNN complex,” “CNN curve,” and “CNN factor” were coined to describe the potential effects of CNN on attitudes and perceptions of public issues (Zhao et al., 2020). Each of these names has a varied meaning for various people, including journalists, government officials, and academics (Nam & Chae, 2022). The increased pressure on leaders to make choices, as well as the increased speed of worldwide communication, have been the primary findings of analysts in recent years, according to global real-time news coverage. Since CNN has played a significant role in broadcasting ethnic and civil conflicts, as well as humanitarian interventions since the end of the Cold War, it is critical to develop and test how the media has continued to shape public perception through selective presentation of information (Tari & Emamzadeh, 2018). In particular, instant communications, as well as the time restrictions that come with them, have the potential for forcing politicians to make choices before they have had a chance to consider other possibilities (Asghar et al., 2019). In light of the widespread acceptance of the CNN effect and the significant amount of attention it receives, particularly from policymakers and the media, as well as the ways in which it influences policymaking and research, it is critical to investigate where the theory originated and how it has aided science and research.

1.2 Purpose and Significance of the Study

Many studies have been conducted in recent years on fake news and how these sources of misleading information continue to influence public opinion on issues such as political direction and other subjects. People have spoken out against the bias of the news media and how it influences their perceptions on issues such as social, economic, political, and international relations, among other things (Boulahnane, 2018). As a result, a new cottage industry of specialists has sprung up to investigate the problem and come up with recommendations. The majority of the responses have dealt with technical issues. The media literacy of the public has also increased, making it simpler for them to distinguish between legitimate and fabricated news articles (Bajri, Nurrohman, & Fakhri, 2019). The employment of these approaches gives the impression that individuals are being fed media messages by a hypodermic needle or that they are like sponges ready to absorb information when the methods are applied (Gilboa, 2005). While most recent arguments have focused on how individuals question and engage with news from social media sites, the consequences of media bias for viewers have been mostly absent from the discussion.

These are the questions that will be addressed in this research:

What is the CNN effect, and how does it come from the goals of the media organization and manifest itself in its influence on its audience?

Describe how the effect and influence of CNN has been previously investigated and assessed.

Is there any progress being made as a result of a decade of investigations into CNN’s goals and influence on news broadcasting, and what are the conclusions of those studies?

For the foreseeable future, what research topics and approaches should be pursued by researchers in order to investigate the repercussions of global communications networks like CNN, as well as those of other global news providers?

These topics are addressed via an examination of significant texts on the subject that have appeared in professional and academic journals during the last decade, which is done in a systematic and critical way. Interviews and focus groups are also used to gather qualitative data relating to personal perspectives on the values and influences of CNN as a news broadcast entity. All of these publications contain theoretical and comparative works, specific case studies, paradigms, and methodologies. This study’s results reflect a simmering debate among academics over whether or not the CNN effect idea is correct and whether it has had significant influence on shaping public policy on various matters.

2. Literature Review

2.1 News Media and Impartiality

The news media must be independent and impartial in order to offer factual information to the public. According to Gilboa (2005) and Robinson (1999), choosing when, how, and for how long to broadcast news items (gatekeeping) and how much time they spend reporting on them (setting agendas) raises issues about media organizations’ neutrality, independence, and ability to report objectively and unbiasedly. In support of the need for media impartiality, Robinson (2011) found that media content is only made available to the public after it has been vetted and controlled by media firms and organizations. As part of the process of choosing what gets on the news agenda each day, media houses filter content based on their position on the matter (Bajri, Nurrohman, & Fakhri, 2019). for example, Doucet (2018) notes that editors determine which sorts of content are appropriate to share with a media outlet’s audience and which are not, like the recent case of the conflict in Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, and Somalia. These issues not only raise questions about the media’s independence, but they also show the institution that performed the content-level analysis’s policy and news agenda.2.2 The CNN Effect

Looking at the CNN effect, it is thought that frequent coverage of big events on television networks such as CNN, Aljazeera, BBC, FOX news, and documentary channels like Vice may have an influence on local and worldwide policy agendas (Ameli & Shiralilou, 2019). In a research done by Zhang and Luther (2020), the influence works by changing how the public sees events, which changes the government’s goals and policies. As a consequence, Blackstone (2018) defines CNN’s influence as independent news media rallying people to speak out and become aware of current events in order to put pressure on the government to act in a specific way. The notion gained traction in the 1990s, when CNN showed live video of United States military actions in different conflict-laden zones such as Iraq (1991), in Africa (Somalia) (1992), and in some parts of Europe (Bosnia) (1995), among other countries (Hossain, Wahab, & Khan, 2022). These broadcasts were considered as the media’s attempt to sway the opinion of the public on the foreign policy matters of the US government in different zones (Tari & Emamzadeh, 2018). The media successfully convinced the government to sanction a military intervention after several days of showing magnificent imagery that outraged the populace.

2.3 CNN’s Influence on Public Policy and Direction

The effect of CNN on Western foreign policy and the media’s power to affect politicians’ intentions are both instances of the idea of the fourth estate. As a consequence, Kim and Grabe (2022) highlight how politicians are forced to comment on issues they would otherwise avoid, or even dictate policy direction such as the recent direction on the COVID-19 issues including vaccination and foreign policy direction with China. Doucet (2018) have claimed that the guidelines were constructed on a shaky foundation since they were based on media pressure rather than a well-thought-out decision, and this is correct.

Doucet (2018) feels that the CNN effect has two characteristics: First and foremost, the news media is self-governing, with the authority to choose its own editorial agenda. Second, and probably most importantly, it includes the capacity to ask politicians questions and get replies. The first feature reveals that news organizations report objectively (Zhang & Luther, 2020). This is partly because journalists think they have a duty to help people when they report on stories of terrible suffering. The second criterion reveals that news companies provide impartial coverage of the news (Ameli & Shiralilou, 2019). As events develop, the media must become more aggressive, establish their own goals, and act more like enterprises propelled by events in general. Those watching television were horrified and bewildered in the wake of large-scale massacres, such as the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and other similar events. CNN largely covered these events with a clear goal of creating public attitude on guns and attempting to force policy makers to revisit gun laws in the United States (Bajri, Nurrohman, & Fakhri, 2019). This offered a chance for the news media to develop a narrative and bring attention to the issue based on their own opinions about what caused the tragedy, which they said included socioeconomic concerns, gun control laws, and cultural violence in the community. The CNN effect was evident in this situation as an attempt to dictate policy direction.

In the confines of media, the CNN effect refers to the concept that 24-hour news networks have an influence on political and economic climates in the places where they are aired (Doucet, 2018). When the media repeatedly covers the same event or problem, it has the ability to retain people’s attention for a lengthy period of time. As a consequence of all of the attention, market values of the enterprises and industries under the spotlight may fluctuate. As a consequence of the CNN effect, Ameli & Shiralilou (2019) individuals and organizations may react more passionately to the subject under investigated. Investors may sell bank stocks or withdraw assets from companies that have been singled out for inspection in light of recent media attention focused on troubles in the banking industry. As a result, the instability would deepen, perhaps leading to another round of media coverage and an even greater financial catastrophe.

2.4 Media Bias and Impact on the Public and Political Realms

Academics have studied how media sources impact people’s choices to buy items and make investments since the 1980s, when the “CNN effect” became widely known (Zhang & Luther, 2020). Consider the possibility that a focus on natural disasters would lead to more aggressive decision-making by consumers and investors. As a consequence, there may be a rush for basic supplies in the affected region, as well as a stock market sell-off of stocks of enterprises with ties to the area and its infrastructure. As a consequence, although media outlets may be seen negatively, they also give insight into how governments and companies function on the inside, which may lead to increased responsibility.

The CNN effect is largely concerned with how quickly cable news could transmit information and how events hundreds of miles away become more meaningful to individuals who would not have paid attention otherwise. Even those who were well-informed about current affairs before the arrival of cable news may find themselves a little behind the times (Bajri, Nurrohman, & Fakhri, 2019). A news story from Asia, for example, would take a long time to appear in the local newspaper. There were several reasons to assume that the situation had changed as a consequence of the column’s publication (Tari & Emamzadeh, 2018). This helped substantially to the avoidance of market panics caused by events in other countries. It was enhanced by the introduction of cable news, which supplied near-real-time images and a healthy dose of sensationalism to supplement this fast-paced coverage. Concerns about the likelihood for floods, the severity of power outages, and the effect on businesses in the area are likely to be addressed more quickly now that a typhoon is nearing Asia. Social media news, on the other hand, is much faster than conventional broadcast news. Because of the increased availability of real-time news from across the world, cable news networks are dedicating more time to the same social media platforms that the bulk of the public utilizes to stay up to date on current events (Ameli & Shiralilou, 2019). Instead of referring to the CNN effect as a result of a cable news network, it could be more accurate to call it the Twitter effect (Hossain, Wahab, & Khan, 2022). Since cord-cutting has become more common, most people’s main source of information is no longer television news.

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Discourse Analysis

Qualitative research, which encompasses methods such as interviews, focus groups, diaries, social media, and documents, is often concerned with what people have to say about a topic. In general, qualitative researchers attempt to get a better understanding of the world by observing how people interact with one another. However, paying attention to not just what people say, but also how they say it, may be quite illuminating in its own right. Similar to what has been described here, discourse analysis may be used to investigate qualitative data (Blommaert & Bulcaen, 2000). Although nonverbal communication is less common than verbal communication, it may be equally as intriguing as the latter since people’s facial expressions and hand gestures provide crucial context to what they are saying. When it comes to language, on the other hand, it is a dynamic component of society, and the meanings of words change with time (Bruun, Lindahl, & Linder, 2019). How people perceive terms like media influence, fake news, immigration policies, and freedom reveals much about the moment we live in as well as those who use them and have the capacity to affect our collective understanding of these topics.

Discourse analysis is a sort of qualitative study that examines how language is used and how people communicate with one another, as well as the events, processes, and behaviors that arise as a result of the meanings conveyed by the language. Through the use of data collected in the field, discourse analysis attempts to identify and categorize various meaning-making processes, networks, and behaviors (Bruun, Lindahl, & Linder, 2019). There are several ways to apply discourse analysis as an analytical approach, as well as many different places to begin with the method. Others, for example, place a high value on clear and accurate communication as well as the examination of interpersonal relationships. Other techniques demonstrate how significant intertextuality and the link between genre and discourse are in an interaction situation as well as in a broader historical or social context or process, as shown by the case study. Often, while doing a discourse analysis, it is necessary to combine small-scale studies of how language is used with larger-scale studies of how society functions as a whole to get the most accurate results (Bruun, Lindahl, & Linder, 2019). Critical discourse analysis places a strong focus on power and empowerment because it examines how meanings are created, modified, and negotiated from the perspective of those who wield authority and authority.

Considering how beneficial it is, discourse analysis was used in this research. Academics may use discourse analysis to examine an issue from a higher level of abstraction, which can help them understand why someone wrote something. When attempting to determine the true meaning of a spoken or written document, discourse analysis considers the document’s social and historical context (Jacobs & Tschötschel, 2019). When individuals understand how language works and how it may be utilized to effect good social change, they are more likely to be successful in their endeavors. At a higher level than a sentence or a phrase, discourse analysis examines the way language is put together as a whole. It examines larger chunks of language, such as conversations or written texts, to determine their meaning. Discourse analysis is also concerned with how individuals interact with one another in groups and how they comprehend what one another is saying (Mullet, 2018). Data collection in discourse analysis refers to the acquisition of texts and communications that have some connection with the issue under investigation. Materials that already exist, such as speeches delivered by the company’s CEO, press releases, internal memos, and advertisements, may be used. Additionally, by speaking with influential individuals, the researcher may uncover fresh facts.

3.2 Interviews

Discourse analysis may be accomplished via the use of a variety of methodologies. In study, the discourse approach is used, and it may be able to provide us with information on the perspectives and aims of various groups in society. CDA is a method of investigating how news gatekeepers, or elite members of the media, use discursive methods to further their own agendas and demonstrate control or influence in their news coverage of current events (Blommaert & Bulcaen, 2000). Elites are members of dominating groups who have exceptional privileges in terms of communication. How much they speak and communicate, as well as how much they can do, determines their level of authority. Using this scenario, CDA demonstrates what the intentions of news gatekeepers are when they produce news about various things and locations, and how they feel about the news that is given to different types of audiences.

Interviews are a more effective method of gathering information for CDA. When it comes to news reporting in contemporary countries, both the individuals who deliver the news and the people who hear it tend to disregard the underlying rhetorical methods that are incorporated into their words (Blommaert & Bulcaen, 2000). In order to make an impact, news editors and journalists must first alter the words and images that the public sees and hears on television and radio. This might result in accurate or inaccurate depictions of what is being place. For this CDA, participants were asked to participate in an interview.

3.3 Focus Groups

In order to better understand how the general public feels about CNN News broadcasts, three focus groups will be established: When doing qualitative research on television viewers, the triangulation of focus groups has shown to be an effective method of obtaining information about them. As a consequence, three distinct focus groups will be formed, each consisting of individuals from a diverse spectrum of sectors. The individuals who will participate will be carefully selected using a random selection procedure. Those who participated in the two focus groups represented a diverse range of backgrounds, including government employees, company representatives, teachers, college students, laborers, jobless individuals, and technical specialists such as physicians and attorneys. The two focus groups were divided into two subgroups for further discussion.

The variety of employment held by the women selected for the focus group will be taken into consideration while selecting the participants. The participants informed us what they did for a livelihood and what their positions were in the organization. Despite the fact that some of these job classifications were not professional in nature and did not always pay, the participants insisted on being referred to and classified as such by their colleagues. In addition to a housewife and a hairdresser, there were also a beauty queen, a company owner, a nurse, a defense attorney, an airline attendant, and a student among the applicants.

The males who will participate in the focus groups will be between the ages of 25 and 48. The persons who participate in the male focus groups will have the same mix of educational background and race as the people who participate in the women’s focus groups. A diverse group of individuals attended the meeting, including university professors, attorneys, teachers, and school administrators, as well as four persons who had dropped out of high school or college and four people who had graduated from college but had not found job. The men’s groups will be from various sections of the nation, so they will come from a variety of different locations to participate. Individuals that will be part of the mixed-gender focus group will be selected based on their age and the kind of work they undertake.

Prior to the discussion, each focus group will view a CNN News compilation that was filmed over the course of two work days and edited together. Commercials, sports, and the weather were edited out of each program, leaving just the news segments to be shown on television. Throughout the focus group interviews, there will be more than ten questions, all of which will be relevant to the topics that CNN editors were asked during the inquiry. Moderators will take the conversation ahead by urging participants to speak more and by taking into consideration each individual’s distinct point of view on the matter, among other things. According to the participants, the focus group sessions would take an average of 45 minutes and will be conducted solely in the English language.

4. Findings and Discussion

4.1 Findings from the Interviews and Focus Groups

4.1.1 Working Definition

Any significant political communication phenomena that has to be investigated in a systematic manner necessitates the development of a proper definition. However, researchers studying the CNN effect have relied on a variety of speculative hypotheses (Gilboa, 2005). Some proposals focus only on how policy influences humanitarian intervention decisions, while others propose a whole new way of thinking about foreign policy and global politics in the 21st century. On a wholesome perspective, the CNN effect refers to the belief that strong visuals on television, such as those depicting a humanitarian tragedy, cause politicians to intervene in circumstances when it would not be in the country’s best interests to do so otherwise (Bajri, Nurrohman, & Fakhri, 2019). CNN effect refers to how breaking news impacts foreign policy choices and how elite decision makers lose control of policy in the face of news media coverage of the event. People believe that the CNN effect demonstrates a clash between real-time television news and policymaking, with the news having a greater impact on policymaking.

4.1.2 Initial Participants’ Perception of CNN’s Values and Influence

The CNN effect has resulted in outcomes that are inconsistent, conflicting, and perplexing in academic and professional investigations. Those who participated in the poll were asked what they considered to be one of the most significant consequences of CNN’s breaking news coverage. They were also questioned about how information and updates on big topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak were presented. Participants believe that one potential advantage of global, real-time media is that it may enable individuals to make choices more quickly. People tend to make snap judgments, which may be dangerous. As per the research respondents, a major theme is that the policymaking community don’t have enough quiet time to consider choices, strike covert agreements, and mold the public’s perception of events and issues. Participants agreed, albeit not unanimously, that CNN’s method of reporting news made officials more inclined to take a stance on important issues. According to the findings, CNN reduces reaction time and expedites procedural action by presenting viewers with a problem and instructing them on the best method to address it. For example, the majority of those who took part in the survey expressed their appreciation for how promptly CNN reported the COVID-19 outbreak, what China was doing, and how the United States planned to react in terms of measures and remedies. The news outlet went on to attack the Trump administration’s delayed reaction time by examining what was happening in Italy, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, and other significant regional centers, among other places. Analysis and information collecting have become considerably less significant in the new world of global media, as shown by CNN’s efforts in this regard.

4.1.3 Perception on CNN’s Impact on Foreign Policy and Public Perception

Participants hold the view that CNN’s international and real-time news coverage has had an impact on the way the foreign policy bureaucracy operates, particularly intelligence agencies and desk officers in the foreign policy docket, and the network is often seen as a policy acceleration tool. Further, the participants observe that it is now necessary for intelligence services to

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