Daniel W. Drezner

I will now blame Anderson Cooper for current events

Last night a fellow International Studies Association 9isa0 attendee sent me the following request:  Hey, aren’t you supposed to be providing pithy commentary on events of the last week for the rest of us ISA survivors? Get on that!  Sigh… it’s back to the blogging salt mines.  [Welcome back…. now get to work!!!–ed.] Let’s start off with ...

Last night a fellow International Studies Association 9isa0 attendee sent me the following request: 

Hey, aren’t you supposed to be providing pithy commentary on events of the last week for the rest of us ISA survivors? Get on that! 

Sigh… it’s back to the blogging salt mines.  [Welcome back…. now get to work!!!–ed.]

Let’s start off with an easy meta-point.  So far, 2011 has been one of those  years when it seems like a lot has been going on in international affairs — but is that reality or just perception? 

Hey, turns out it’s reality:

Propelled by revolution in the Middle East and radiation in Japan, television news coverage of foreign events this year is at the highest level since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 10 years ago, news executives in the United States say….

The busy season for foreign news started in January in Tunisia and quickly spread to Egypt, where networks and newspapers deployed hundreds of journalists. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which conducts a weekly accounting of news coverage by national outlets, foreign news added up to 45 percent of all coverage from mid-January through mid-March. In the four years that the accounting has been done, foreign news has averaged about 20 percent of coverage….

But despite extensive coverage of Libya and Japan, the television networks have had major blind spots. Last week, none of the broadcast networks had correspondents in Bahrain, where the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based, when security forces crushed the protest movement there, nor in Yemen when forces there killed dozens of protesters. The dearth of coverage of Yemen is largely because of its government’s refusal to grant visas to journalists….

So, cui bono?  Here we get to a veeeerry interesting detail:

If there is any media beneficiary, it is CNN, a unit of Time Warner, which has the most robust international staff levels of any network based in the United States. CNN has paired its domestic and international channels for hours on end, and last week it scored several rare — though probably fleeting — ratings victories against Fox News.

“This is the time when the judicious investments we’ve made in a proper international infrastructure are paying off,” Mr. Maddox said. 

Say, isn’t it convenient that CNN had all these assets in place and now gets to use them?  Can anyone out there prove that network hasn’t played an instigating role in some of these crises? 

I didn’t think so.  I’m gonna start paying very close attention to Anderson Cooper for the rest of 2011.  [Yeah, that doesn’t sound weird at all!–ed.]

 Twitter: @dandrezner

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