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International Coverage, Foreign Policy, and National Image: Exploring the Complexities of Media Coverage, Public Opinion, and Presidential Agenda
Unformatted Document Text:  EXPLORING THE COMPLEXITIES 9 without doubt that the president does indeed influence policy agenda, this process is little understood (Edwards & Wood, 1999). This knowledge gap is confirmed with the relative infrequency of presidential agenda studies and inconsistencies of findings. Previous studies analyzing the president’s influence on the media have primarily centered on State of the Union addresses (Gilberg, Eyal, McCombs, & Nicholas, 1980; Wanta, Stephenson, Turk, & McCombs, 1989). For example, a study examining 16 prominent issues in President George Bush’s administration, found that the president had considerable influence on the media concerning choice issues stressed by his administration (Wanta & Foote, 1994). Beyond the State of the Union Addresses, a limited amount of studies have examined the president’s agenda and foreign policy. Edwards and Wood (1999) found that the president mainly reacts to changes in the media attention and world events instead of setting the agenda. In addition, Wood and Peake (1998) suggest that the president is more susceptible to media agenda than actively shaping it. Overall, the inconsistency of findings examining the presidential agenda still leaves many questions unanswered. It is clear that the president has influence on the media concerning high priority issues relative to their campaign, but a lower influence concerning other issues. However, on other issues it appears that the media has a greater influence on the president than the president on the media. These findings indicate that further research is necessary to identify how the president successfully leads the media agenda and, in turn, discover how the media influences the president on certain issues.

Authors: Zhang, Cui.
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EXPLORING THE COMPLEXITIES
                                      9
without doubt that the president does indeed influence policy agenda, this process is 
little understood (Edwards & Wood, 1999). This knowledge gap is confirmed with the 
relative infrequency of presidential agenda studies and inconsistencies of findings. 
Previous studies analyzing the president’s influence on the media have primarily 
centered on State of the Union addresses (Gilberg, Eyal, McCombs, & Nicholas, 
1980; Wanta, Stephenson, Turk, & McCombs, 1989). For example, a study examining 
16 prominent issues in President George Bush’s administration, found that the 
president had considerable influence on the media concerning choice issues stressed 
by his administration (Wanta & Foote, 1994). 
Beyond the State of the Union Addresses, a limited amount of studies have 
examined the president’s agenda and foreign policy. Edwards and Wood (1999) found 
that the president mainly reacts to changes in the media attention and world events 
instead of setting the agenda. In addition, Wood and Peake (1998) suggest that the 
president is more susceptible to media agenda than actively shaping it.
Overall, the inconsistency of findings examining the presidential agenda still 
leaves many questions unanswered. It is clear that the president has influence on the 
media concerning high priority issues relative to their campaign, but a lower influence 
concerning other issues. However, on other issues it appears that the media has a 
greater influence on the president than the president on the media. These findings 
indicate that further research is necessary to identify how the president successfully 
leads the media agenda and, in turn, discover how the media influences the president 
on certain issues. 


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