Research Article Open Access
The Common Enemy Rationale: An Attempt to Apply Concepts of Cognitive Consistency to the Portrayals of the United States in the Foreign Press
In discussions of the declining U.S. image in foreign countries, the emphasis is usually placed on either the shortcomings of U.S. policies and actions, or on the political, psychological and cultural circumstances in foreign countries. This dyadic approach ignores the important role of “third parties” in the development of international attitudes toward the United States. In this article, an attempt was made to demonstrate a reciprocal relationship between a foreign country’s press portrayals of the U.S. and its views of international terrorism. More than 2,000 articles from the mainstream print media in nine countries, published in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, provided the data to support this assumption. Related topics, including (a) the differences between press representations of the U.S. in the West versus in the Muslim World, and (b) the affects of press censorship on America’s image in China, are also discussed.
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