Identifier

etd-11122006-232902

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This dissertation examines the public opinion-public policy nexus with regard to the making of U.S.-China policy during the Clinton administration (1992-2000). The researcher investigates how the mass media discourse on U.S.-China relations relates to the policy tradeoff between economic interdependence and confrontation on human rights. Particularly, the quantitative study of the media discourse is placed within a Communitarian perspective to determine: (1) whether the policy tradeoff can claim to have the support of public opinion; (2) whether the media discourse originated from the active civic participation; and (3) how the policy tradeoff broke its promise. As a result, the researcher concludes that the eclipse of co-operative inquiry of the U.S. public, the ascendancy of issue management of special stakeholders, and the entanglement between newsmaking and policy-making may have jeopardized the republican virtue of U.S. diplomacy. First, the researcher contextualizes U.S.-China relations and relates it to the dynamics of U.S. foreign policy choices among four national interests: power, prosperity, principle, and peace. Then, the researcher sets the Communitarian theory of the press as a normative theory of media democracy and incorporates other positive theories of political communication to make sense of the dilemma of the current media democracy. Following that, a content analysis of the New York Times and Cable News Network examined: (1) who said what; (2) which perspective prevails; (3) the correlation between newsmaking and policy-making; and (4) the congruence/dissension between policy beltway and other social groups. The finding suggests a significant correlation between/among the policy proposal, the author of that proposal, and the issue/frame espoused; on the other hand, the conspicuous differences among policy-makers, ordinary citizens (issue public), and professional communicators in regard to the policy trade-off indicates a low public accountability of the policy tradeoff. To explain the discrepancy, the investigator examined corporate America's issue management of U.S.-China trade and put the policy tradeoff into the perspective of capitalistic globalization theory. Finally, the lack of republican virtue is explained as a result of corporate-driven diplomacy and the media discourse short of civic participation. Henceforward, a Communitarian press becomes recommendable for the rejuvenation of media democracy.

Date

2006

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ralph Izard

Share

COinS