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Ranch State and CitizenSpace: Digital Democracy and Web Strategies for the United States and the United Kingdom
Unformatted Document Text:  8 research has yielded no clear causal link that indicates that the media actively shapes foreign policy (Neuman, Johanna, 1996; Strobel, 1997, 2000; Mermin, 1997; Seaver, 1998). Strobel did, however, claim rather ambiguously that the media did affect the process of foreign policy in the United States. The process may have direct bearing on the role that ICT plays in foreign policy formation and digital democracy. There are historical and institutional barriers to citizen participation in the conduct and formation of foreign policy. This may be an inherent obstacle to any sort of activation of national- level social capital building and active attempts at influencing foreign policy from the citizen- level. Early research in public opinion regarding foreign affairs tended to portray the public in the United States as relatively uninformed, and to varying degrees – uninterested. Early studies by Rosenau indicated that the majority of the public (75 –90%) was "far removed" from the actual policy process, and held little clout other than what it could have if potentially activated by an issue. In this sense, the public represented the "outer limits within which decision makers and opinion makers feel constrained to operate and interact" (Rosenau, 1961). Other research was focused on identifying who the publics actually were. Gabriel Almond focused on the "attentive publics" who monitored the information and news about foreign policy. Almond argued that it is necessary to look at smaller groups if one wants to know how public opinion shapes policy (Price, 1992). "The attentive public is informed and interested in foreign policy problems, and which constitutes the audience for foreign policy elites" (Almond, 1950). This notion alone narrows the population for citizens that have the interest or ability to participate via ICT in foreign affairs. The narrow population is also met with institutional friction. Bernard Cohen, renowned for his ground-breaking work in the relationship between the media and foreign policy, once quoted a State Department official as saying "To hell with public opinion…. We should lead, and not follow" (Cohen, 1973).

Authors: Hayden, Craig.
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8
research has yielded no clear causal link that indicates that the media actively shapes foreign
policy (Neuman, Johanna, 1996; Strobel, 1997, 2000; Mermin, 1997; Seaver, 1998). Strobel did,
however, claim rather ambiguously that the media did affect the process of foreign policy in the
United States. The process may have direct bearing on the role that ICT plays in foreign policy
formation and digital democracy.
There are historical and institutional barriers to citizen participation in the conduct and
formation of foreign policy. This may be an inherent obstacle to any sort of activation of national-
level social capital building and active attempts at influencing foreign policy from the citizen-
level. Early research in public opinion regarding foreign affairs tended to portray the public in the
United States as relatively uninformed, and to varying degrees – uninterested. Early studies by
Rosenau indicated that the majority of the public (75 –90%) was "far removed" from the actual
policy process, and held little clout other than what it could have if potentially activated by an
issue. In this sense, the public represented the "outer limits within which decision makers and
opinion makers feel constrained to operate and interact" (Rosenau, 1961).
Other research was focused on identifying who the publics actually were. Gabriel
Almond focused on the "attentive publics" who monitored the information and news about
foreign policy. Almond argued that it is necessary to look at smaller groups if one wants to know
how public opinion shapes policy (Price, 1992). "The attentive public is informed and interested
in foreign policy problems, and which constitutes the audience for foreign policy elites" (Almond,
1950). This notion alone narrows the population for citizens that have the interest or ability to
participate via ICT in foreign affairs.
The narrow population is also met with institutional friction. Bernard Cohen, renowned
for his ground-breaking work in the relationship between the media and foreign policy, once
quoted a State Department official as saying "To hell with public opinion…. We should lead, and
not follow" (Cohen, 1973).


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