Focus on the CNN Effect Misses the Point: The Real Media Impact on Conflict Management is Invisible and Indirect

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Jakobsen, Peter Viggo (2000) Focus on the CNN Effect Misses the Point: The Real Media Impact on Conflict Management is Invisible and Indirect , Journal of Peace Research 37(2): 131–143.

The media ignores most conflicts most of the time. The coverage of the pre- and post-violence phases is negligible at best and only a few armed conflicts are covered in the violence phase. As focus and funds follow the cameras, the 1990s have witnessed a transfer of resources from more cost-effective, long-term efforts directed at preventing violent conflict and rebuilding war-torn societies to short-term emergency relief. Selective media coverage also contributes to an irrational allocation of short-term emergency relief because coverage is determined by factors other than humanitarian need. This invisible and indirect media impact on Western conflict management is far greater than the direct impact on intervention and withdrawal decisions that the debate over the CNN effect focuses on.]