Enemies, allies, and others: Images of the world on Voice of America and Radio Moscow after the Cold War

Beverly Ann Johns, Purdue University


From 1945 to 1989, the United States and the Soviet Union constructed a subjective reality of the other as the adversary. Their relation with each other, and ultimately with the other countries of the world, was defined by their perception of the other as an adversary. This subjective reality of international relations as a Cold War was communicated as symbolic reality. One of the main agents which articulated the government's world view was the mass media. The world they present to both domestic and international audiences was divided into good allies who could be trusted and bad enemies who could not be trusted. When the Berlin Wall went down in 1989, events forced international relations to be restructured. To investigate the nature of these changes, a five week sample of Voice of America and Radio Moscow was recorded in November and December of 1991. As they were government owned and operated stations, the images they presented were taken as accurate indicators of government policy. During this time period, the Soviet Union's subjective reality had veered completely away from Cold War constructions. The United States, while not an ally, was no longer an enemy. The United States, though, was still fighting the Cold War with the world's remaining Communist countries.




Wasburn, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mass media|Linguistics|Sociology

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