Framed National Images Influence Policy Attitudes Among Targeted Foreign Citizens
49 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 27, 2021
Many countries increasingly try to manipulate their national image abroad. Yet, we know relatively little about their ability to shape foreign public opinion and attract support for desired policy outcomes through those images. Using a survey experiment about a Russian donation to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, we cast light on an under-investigated, theoretically important aspect of transnational opinion formation---the media's capacity, via framing, to facilitate or impede a country's efforts to change their image. We find that successful transnational image management depends on whether the media present a foreign country's actions as sincerely or insincerely motivated. However, the image changes induced by media frames do not translate to attitudinal changes across all policy issues related to that country. Research on foreign public opinion should not assume that diplomatic maneuvers go unfiltered, nor that they can shift opinions on multiple policy domains.
Keywords: public diplomacy, media frame, national images, foreign public opinion, Russia, United States, COVID-19
JEL Classification: D74, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation