The CNN effect in low politics: how the media influences Dutch foreign policy

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Although media influence on foreign policy has gathered scientific interest since the late 80’s, the focus of scholars has stayed with defense and intervention policies. Little research has been conducted on foreign policy sub-domains with a lower salience. While defense policies are considered to be high politics – politics that matter for a state’s survival – media influence in low politics foreign policy domains have been given considerable less attention. Above this, the so called CNN effect (media influence on a policy outcome) has predominantly been investigated in an American context. This thesis aims at filling this lacuna, by investigating the CNN effect in two cases of low politics domains, namely trade and economic foreign policy in a Dutch context. It will be shown that with an adjusted policy-interaction model (originally set up by Piers Robinson to analyze media influence in defense cases) and two extra conditions it could be proved that the media were one of the factors of influence on the rejection of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by the Dutch parliament in 2012, while the press was of no influence by the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by that same parliament. This thesis concludes with some advices on how the adjusted policy-interaction model could be used for further investigations to low politics cases in foreign policy.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen