Drawing upon his lifelong study of politics and journalism, political historian Lee Edwards offers a scholarly examination of a powerful new phenomenon in world politics-the mass media. Edwards argues in his work that the media have become as important a factor in determining the course of international affairs and the future of nations as economic prosperity, military strength, natural resources, and national will. The author calls this vital new component of world politics mediapolitik. He uses case studies from around the world to show how the mass media have influenced and even determined the outcome of major political acts. The author argues that these case studies show that the mass media can either enrich or enslave the human spirit, depending upon their moral foundation. If the media follow a liberal democratic model, as in the United States and Western Europe, they contribute to a free and just society. If they follow an authoritarian model, as in South Africa before Mandela, or a totalitarian model as in Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Fidel Castro's Cuba, they perpetuate the regime in power and deny the fruits of freedom and democracy to the people. Edwards addresses the question of how responsibly the American media, the most influential media in the world, handle their enormous power. Using the results obtained from his survey of 100 leading journalists as well as close analysis of major news stories of the last decade, the author confirms the cynicism of the American media and its deleterious effect on American politics and government. The solution, he suggests, is that American journalists must practice moral responsibility and strengthen the liberal democratic model of mediapolitik around the world.
Lee Edwards is senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and adjunct professor of politics at The Catholic University of America. He is senior editor of The World & I magazine and author or editor of numerous books, including The Collapse of Communism, The Conservative Revolution, The Power of Ideas: The Heritage Foundation at 25 Years, and Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution.