White House rhetoric key to shaping public's foreign policy opinions

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Washington, Dec 2 (ANI): A new study by researchers at the University of Missouri suggests that White House rhetoric in vital in shaping foreign policy opinions.

The study also found that the simple terms easily win the confidence of the public unlike complicated jargon that is viewed with scepticism.

The study titled "'Pretty Prudent' or Rhetorically Responsive? The American Public's Support for Military Action," has appeared in the Political Research Quarterly.

Cooper Drury, associate professor of political science in the College of Arts and Science and editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Analysis, said: "Many analyses have shown that the public pays little attention to foreign policy.

"While well-informed citizens are likely to evaluate the policy for what it is, a majority of Americans will buy what the White House sells them. If the president is able to define an intervention in simple, compelling terms, he is likely to get considerably more support from the public."

Researchers circulated four different mock news stories that looked like New York Times articles for their study. The articles were about a conflict between two fictitious Latin American countries. The first article had spelt out a policy to stop aggression using simple terms and the second dealt with same issue in complex terminology. The third article explained a "nation building" policy simply and the fourth gave out the same policy in complex terms.

It was found that Americans who were aware about news acted more discreetly in appraising a foreign policy, while those who often ignored political news were largely influenced by White House rhetoric.

Drury said: "Presidents have a great deal of power to shape public opinion of policy goals that require military action if they have the ability to manipulate the type of language that is used."

He added: "The public needs to pay attention to the political world around them so that they can cut through the White House's rhetoric and truly evaluate policy." (ANI)

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