In 1993, George F. Kennan (1993) coined the term “CNN eff ect” in an article arguing that the global news media had become the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy. This was a key turning point in the study of the role of the news media in U.S. foreign policy. Kennan’s cautionary tale of the horrors of a world where global powers were tossed about by the vicissitudes of the media, most notably its obsession with dramatic images, acted as something of a catalyst. In subsequent years, there has been a great deal of research into the role of the news media in U.S. foreign policy and today it is an all but necessary part of any summary of contemporary issues and research. In light of this sudden rise in the salience of the news media as a signifi cant factor, scholars and students alike can probably be forgiven for approaching the media as if it were a new infl uence upon U.S. foreign policy. However, no matter how obvious those things might appear to be, what has become the common wisdom off ers a very poor representation of the reality of news media and American foreign policy.