American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age

American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age

by Nathan Gardels, Mike Medavoy


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This dazzling little book explores the role of US media in foreign policy, not only at the present moment, but with an eye to the future.

  • Written by a veteran Hollywood film executive and an internationally known columnist in foreign affairs
  • Explains how American movies, TV shows, and pop music provide the images of America to the rest of the world, and the rest of the world to Americans
  • Includes discussions of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed Danish daily newspapers, Tibetan monks censored out of Chinese TV news reports only to show up on You Tube, and the Vatican's assault on the Da Vinci Code movie
  • Argues that Hollywood is a key player in the 'deep coalition' required to support a 'smart power' foreign policy and build a global cultural infrastructure that will make the world safe for interdependence

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781405187411
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 04/28/2009
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Nathan Gardels is the editor of National Perspectives Quarterly. He has written widely for many publications, both nationally and internationally, including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Guardian, Corriere della Sera, El Pais, Le Figaro, and the New York Review of Books.

Mike Medavoy is the chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures. Throughout his career he has been involved in the creation of countless films, including sixteen nominated for Best Picture Academy Awards, and seven winners.

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Table of Contents

List of Plates vi

Foreword by Joseph S. Nye Jr. vii

1 Hearts, Minds, and Hollywood 1

2 The Magic is Gone – Except at the Box Office 9

3 Creativity into Cash: How Hollywood Works 26

4 Seeing and Being Seen 34

5 Hollywood Beats the Red Army: The Height of America’s Cultural Appeal 51

6 Backlash: Soft Power is Still Power, and Still Makes Enemies 60

7 Culture Wars in the West: The Pope vs. Madonna 71

8 Media Storm Troopers of the West vs. Islam 83

9 New Stories, New Audiences in the Global Age 98

10 Reinventing Cultural Diplomacy 124

Six Key Concepts of This Book 145

About the Authors 149

Acknowledgments 155

Index 159

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This book talks about some of the most vital issues affecting the world today with genuine intelligence and passion."
Martin Scorsese, Director

"This book breaks completely new ground in the study of communication power—the key power of the 21st century."
Manuel Castells, Author of The Network Society

"Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy have not only written the best book about public diplomacy and the global competition of ideas that I have read in 30 years of working in the public diplomacy field – they present the most honest and realistic assessment I’ve seen of the opportunities and challenges America faces in convincing foreign publics to give us the benefit of the doubt in the years ahead. For present and future decision-makers who who treat public diplomacy like the weather – everyone talks about it but no one knows how to do anything about it – and for Americans who wonder 'why does the world hate us?' this is a must read."
Doug Wilson, former Director of Congressional Affairs, US Information Agency and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

"The ability to win the hearts and minds of a people rarely comes at the end of a bomb or bullet.
Those who reach us through the magic of movies and multimedia technologies have far greater power to capture our ideas and attitudes than does any army.
Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy have produced an important book that examines this reality. It reviews the history of filmmaking in this context and the forces of globalization, illuminating the path that America needs to follow if we hope to restore our nation to a place of global prominence and moral influence."
William. S. Cohen, Former Secretary of Defense

"I’m sure many people will, and should, challenge their own postures after reading this book."
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Director of Babel

"Inspiring. A hugely important problem and have tackled it from a refreshingly novel perspective."
Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School

"Riveting and eye-opening."
Katrina van den Heuvel, Editor, The Nation

"A superb insider’s account of what American soft power – it’s weapon of mass attraction – can really mean in practice. Cogently written, this book demonstrates admirably the length of America’s cultural reach to the rest of the world."
Chris Patten, Chancellor, Oxford University

"This book poses many acute questions on how American films and culture play into our foreign policy discussion and the world’s view of our society. A must read for people in the business of making films."
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

"Those Americans who travel the world have the opportunity to see the massive impact American popular culture has in virtually ever society on the planet. Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy are intimately acquainted with the entertainment industry and have sophisticated political roots. Both assets eminently qualify them to propose new, more imaginative, and more productive ways in which America’s movies and entertainment can be invaluable tools in what surely must become a more sophisticated approach to American diplomacy and leadership in the world."
Gary Hart, Former United States Senator

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