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Article

Cold war redux in US-Russia relations? The effects of US media framing and public opinion of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war

Communist and Post-Communist Studies. 2013. Vol. 46. No. 4. P. 513-527.
Arbatli E., Bayulgen О.

This paper examines the Cold War rhetoric in US-Russia relations by looking at the 2008 Russia-Georgia war as a major breaking point. We investigate the links between media, public opinion and foreign policy. In our content analysis of the coverage in two major USnewspapers, we find that the framing of the conflict was anti-Russia, especially in the initial stages of the conflict. In addition, our survey results demonstrate that an increase in the media exposure of US respondents increased the likelihood of blaming Russia exclusively in the conflict. This case study helps us understand how media can be powerful in constructing a certain narrative of an international conflict, which can then affect public perceptions of other countries. We believe that the negative framing of Russia in the US media has had important implications for the already-tenuous relations between the US and Russia by reviving and perpetuating the Cold War mentality for the public as well as for foreign policymakers.