United States Foreign Policy and Media Coverage of Uzbekistan: A Case Study.
This study reviews the impact of U.S. political interests on media coverage of Uzbekistan, a Central Asian republic which became independent after the breakup of the Soviet Union. A content analysis of coverage from 1991 to 1996 in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times was compared to American government documents and pronouncements on Uzbekistan. Striking similarities between U.S. policy towards Uzbekistan and the negative interpretation of events appearing in American newspapers were found. The democracy and human rights agendas advanced by U.S. officials apparently prompted editors and reporters to focus more on these subjects, while overlooking other topics. The author argues that the continuing dependence of American media on government sources does not contribute to broad understanding of important issues. Rather, the overall impact of the interplay between press and government deprives the general public of a coherent view about foreign countries.