About the Topic: Media outlets in multi-party electoral systems tend to report on a wider range of policy issues and present more competing policy frames than media in two-party systems. This suggests we should observe more challenges to governments’ preferred framing of foreign policy in multi-party democracies. Citizens in multi-party democracies are better equipped to hold their leaders accountable, relative to their counterparts in two-party democracies. This, in turn, ought to result in greater caution when leaders consider the prospect of employing military force abroad. By analyzing the news coverage of interventions in Iraq and Libya, as well as public support for war and joining multinational coalitions that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, Baum proposes a mechanism through which leaders can be constrained in decisions concerning war and peace.
About the Speaker: Matthew Baum is the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communication and professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on delineating the effects of mass media and public opinion on international conflict and cooperation and on American foreign policy, as well as on the role of the mass media and public opinion in contemporary American politics. He has published in over a dozen leading scholarly journals, including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and International Organization. He is also author of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age and co-authored, War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War. Baum received his PhD in political science at the University of California, San Diego in 2000.