How the Cold War Drives the News


ACLS Fellowship Program


Annenberg School for Communication


When the Cold War ended in 1989, its journalistic mindset went underground, shaping coverage of many difficult public events since. This project tracks the emergence and maintenance of Cold War mindedness in US journalism during the war’s formative years, from 1947 to 1952. Tracing its reflection in the words and images of coverage, it demonstrates how journalists’ reliance on three interrelated suppositions—that dichotomous enmity between the United States and the Soviet Union deserved to be upheld; that war did not have to be seen to be believed; and that media reach indicated US impact on those under communism—shaped understandings of the war. This project also shows how Cold War mindedness continues to fuel coverage of current events, including the emergence of populism, the so-called War on Terror, and globalization.