Like Moths to a Flame: The News Media, The United Nations, and the Specialized Agencies

Published: Winter 2001-2002    |    By: Andrew Caddell    |    Volume 59, No. 2


The way the world receives the news began to change in 1980 with the transmission of the first signals of a little-known broadcaster based in Atlanta, Georgia. At 6:00 pm EDT on 1 June 1980, the words from a producer, ‘Take 11, mike cue, cue New York,’ were followed by those of the announcers: ‘Good evening, I’m David Walker … and I’m Lois Hart.” The Cable News Network — or ` The News Channel,’ as it was originally called – was on the air. In that instant, 24-hour-a-day satellite television news was born. It would eventually alter the face of journalism and gradually change diplomacy in the industrialized world.

Over the next few years, CNN took on an influence far greater than any conventional television network. Described as the ‘sixteenth member of the Security Council’ by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, it and the other global news media began to act as the barometers or filters of what was valid, valuable, or appealing for the powerful people who tuned in to watch.

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