IWP focuses on teaching all the instruments of national power - and mass media has been increasingly useful as one of these instruments during the past century. This is why IWP Professor Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, will be offering his class on Mass Media and World Politics after a hiatus of several years.
He observes that:
"The mass media have become an essential part of each nation-state. Political scientists in the past usually tried to measure a nation's power by traditional criteria, such as natural resources, population, the national economy, and the national will, but particularly since World War II, the mass media have become an important element in determining how powerful a nation is.
"During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union were major media powers, and that has continued until the present multipolar world in which China has concentrated much of its attention and resources on building a media infrastructure. Examples of how the mass media have influenced the political outcomes would be the fall of the Berlin wall, the failure of the Soviet hardliners in 1991, the release of Nelson Mandela in Southern Africa, and the seeming victory of the pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square."
The course will review both general theory and case studies. It will use as its main textbook a work by Lee Edwards himself: Mediapolitik: How the Mass Media have Transformed World Politics, which is a study of the interaction of politics and media. The course will also study the influence of the internet, which has become a real force in the realm of mass media in recent years. The course will review the effects of such events as the controversial Wikileaks publications, how the Chinese are handling the internet, how Cuba still refuses to allow the ownership of personal computers, and how the young people of Iran - where there is not as much suppression as in places like China and North Korea - are heavy users of the internet.
IWP Vice Dean of Academic Affairs David Klocek observes: "We are very pleased that such a fine course can be offered now more often because of the growth of IWP and the increased interest in this instrument of national power. We think our students will enjoy the course."