Simon Serfaty, The Media and Foreign Policy. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press. 1990.
In the book, The Media and Foreign Policy, Simon Serfaty, Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute in Washington, D. C., and research professor of American foreign policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced international Studies, shares his own and fellow authors collected essays on the media’s effect on foreign policy and foreign policy decision making of the United States, if there is any. Serfaty has edited several books on foreign relations and foreign policies as well as authored many of his books and essays. His work has been primarily focused on foreign policy and foreign relations since the onset and ending of the “Cold War”. In The Media and Foreign Policy, Serfaty brings together a collection of essays that defend the media’s current and past role of reporting the United States’ foreign policy decisions and relations.
Serfaty carefully choreographs The Media and Foreign Policy, in a way that gives the media an appearance of the boy next door. Serfaty also sequences the articles in such a way that seemingly all aspects of United States’ foreign policy and foreign relations are covered in one way or another. The majority of these authors are media personalities, in some way, shape, or form. They range from newspaper reporters, to television news anchors. These essays are also from several different political perspectives, whether it is liberal, conservative, or even non-conformist.
The underlying theme throughout all of the essays is a defense of the media and they manner in which they conduct interviews, articles, and news reports concerning the United States government’s foreign policies, and foreign relations. An example of this can be found in Philip L. Geyelin’s essay, The Strategic Defense Initiative: The President’s Story. Geyelin attacks then president now former, Ronald Reagan for unveiling his Strategic Defense Initiative to the world on national television. Geyelin feels that the press should have informed prior to the announcement so as to bring a better coverage of the story to the American people. But President Reagan felt differently and released the information in his own way and fashion, as most great presidents would have done.
Serfaty attempts to shed some semblance of light on a very peculiar situation, which is the media and its effect, if any, on the United States’ foreign policy and relations. Serfaty fails miserably, all he has done is give a printed place for the liars and con men of our society to defend themselves publicly and offer no sort of rebuttal from the opposing point of view. Due to absence of objective penmanship I will cast the discerning pen.
Serfaty and the other authors fail to realize that a good portion of our society is aware that the tabloid trash that is attempted to be rammed down our throats each evening is only a portion of the truth, a sugar coated version if you will. The media is all about the almighty dollar not about informing the American people of the situations that effect there every day lives. Whether its trying to gain ratings points during the yearly television sweeps week or trying to sell more magazines or newspapers, all of the so called media moguls are after is increased revenue to make their already swollen bank accounts even fatter.
So in the infamous words of Gene Siskel (may he rest in peace) and Roger Ebert, Simon Serfaty gets a thumbs down for his book The Media and Foreign Policy. This is based literary bias and nonobjective journalism.