Political Science ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertations approach starts from four basic premises. The first is that a Western power's interests in a liberal foreign policy course will exist alongside other interests of the state that casually conflict with its professed liberalism. The second premise is that, in order for the Western state to periodically pursue objectives that partially conflict with its professed principles, the state will present such objectives as liberal by understating the illiberal characteristics of foreign allies and overstating the undemocratic characteristics of rivals. The third premise is that, given the cultural authority of the state, its positions and narratives will have some distorting effects upon how the nation's news organizations depict the political life of countries governed by allies and rivals. The last premise is that such distorted media depictions will often make it difficult for citizens and elites to detect when and where the Western power is casually deviating from its professed liberalism in its external relations. In testing the study's hypotheses, the dissertation rigorously examines U.S. official and media discourses about Latin American allies and rivals in the post-Cold War era (1989-2009).

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Goldfrank, Benjamin

Second Committee Member

Peceny, Mark

Third Committee Member

Rodriguez, Ilia




liberal culturalism, realist constructivism, media, Latin America, U.S. foreign policy

Document Type