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Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862TITLE: TV in the Directorate of IntelligenceAUTHOR:(b)(3)(c)VOLUME: 36 ISSUE: Summer YEAR: 1992pproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862 Sproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862TUDIES ?1INTELLIGENCEA collection of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects of intelligence. -CAll statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those ofthe authors. They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the CentralIntelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in thecontents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of anarticle's factual statements and interpretations.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862Uses and attitudesTV IN THE DIRECTORATEOF INTELLIGENCE(b)(3)(c)Recent research indicates that the impact ofTV news on American public opinion maybe more pervasive than a casual considera-tion would suggest. Much of this research has beendone by Professor Shanto Iyengar of UCLA. Hisfindings imply that the manner in which US TVnews is presented to the public not only influenceswhat people think about but also what to think. Theway in which a news story is "framed" can influ-ence the public's focus when assigning blame for so-cial problems that are discussed on the broadcasts orwhen asked to suggest remedies for these ills. Anews story on unemployment that focuses on theplight of a recently laid-off worker has an "episodic"frame; the broadcasting network has taken one epi-sode of a larger problem and reports it. Conversely,should unemployment be presented in terms of the"big picture, " with facts and figures, and economiccorrespondents providing their views on the latestfigures, the frame is labeled "thematic."The research indicates that when viewers are exposedto episodic framing of an issue such as unemploy-ment, they tend to "personalize" the news and to fo-cus on unemployed people as both the cause andremedy of unemployment. On the other hand, view-ers exposed to the predominantly thematic coverageof unemployment overwhelmingly tend to hold thegovernment responsible for the problem and to citeincreased government attention as the remedy.Hence, how the news is presented can affect towhom the public will assign responsibility and thenature of additional policy demands. The conse-quences of this power are significant.31SecretExperiments and ResearchLaboratory experiments provide much of the evi-dence on the impact of TV news on public attitudes.Typically, subjects in these experiments view net-work TV news broadcasts that have been altered toinclude stories designed for the experiment. By sub-jecting subsets of the viewers to different alteredbroadcasts, the researchers have been able to studythe ability of TV news to inflate the importance ofspecific issues as well as influence how the viewersassign causality for social problems. But just howstrong is the impact of TV news on public opinionoutside of the laboratory? Do the research findingshold true when the sample of subjects is drawn fromthe national population, who watch the evening newseach day over an extended time?(b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)In preparing this project, the question arose ofwhether analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence(DI) use foreign TV in analysis as both as a sourceof information and as a tool for prediction? To tryto answer the question, I interviewed three to sixanalysts from various offices who were known towatch the TV news from their areas of responsibility.The analysts at times also watched documentaries,interviews, and other programs of possible interest.The number of interviewees usually reflected TVApproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862CUI C Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862Sccrct  news availability in the office and the ease withwhich it was obtained. Generally, if the news can beobtained with a short turnaround time, then theanalyst will use it.Factors Affecting TV ViewingThe widely varying ways in which analysts use for-eign TV and their reasons for using it depend in parton the nature of the individual analyst's duties.Analysts in the Office of Leadership Analysis(LDA), the Office of Scientific Weapons andResearch (OSWR) and the Office of ImageryAnalysis (OLA) are primarily interested in the videocontent of foreign TV. In the area offices, someanalysts use foreign TV primarily as a source of in-formation and others use it to gain a sense ofgovernment or public attitudes. Most of the analystsinterviewed fell somewhere in between; they realizedthat TV is more than a quick source of information,but they did not fully understand its potential uses.In addition to availability and ease of viewing, thedegree of TV watching in the DI depends on lan-guage skills, office culture, other sources of informa-tion, and amount of time available. All of these fac-tors are directly influenced by the analysts' opinionof the usefulness of TV news.Because of the ready availability of broadcasts fromtheir countries, the Office of European Analysis(EURA) and the Office of Slavic and EurasianAnalysis (OSE) seem to watch TV news more thanother offices. Some EURA analysts watch the newsfrom its countries on a daily basis. OSE has a rosterof analysts who take turns watching the news andwriting summaries for distribution throughout theoffice. These two offices also have many analystswith the necessary foreign language abilities. In con-trast, the Office of Near East and South AsiaAnalysis (NESA) has fewer newscasts from itscountries on the grid, and analysts do not watchthem on a daily basis. This is probably due in part tothe number of NESA's Arabic and Hebrew speakers,but, if an analyst has to order a tape of the news be-cause it was not broadcast on the grid, he or shetends to make less use of TV.TVOffice culture is another factor. This partly refers tothe importance that management places on watchingthe news. Managers in OSE, for example, watchCommonwealth of Independent States (CIS) newsthemselves, and they also ask analysts about whatthey have seen. One analyst said that she began tak-ing a serious interest in TV viewing when the officedirector started to ask analysts about what they hadseen; several other analysts also mentioned the direc-tor's viewing habits.Office culture also refers to the mindset of the in-dividual analysts within the office. Several analystsfrom the same office indicated that they have littleuse for the news. The most prevalent attitude seemedto be "we already know the story through othersources" or "the government controls the media, andwe already have a good idea of the government linethrough other sources." If this thinking is prevalent,obstacles to using the news, such as a language bar-rier, will not be overcome.The availability of other sources of information andthe time available to watch TV also affected viewing.A busy analyst who believes he or she can get infor-mation quicker elsewhere may not take the time towatch the news. If an analyst regards TV as justanother source, he or she would tend to ignore TV,especially if it required mfr.\ loCC\ x?o watch thenews than it does to readlkIJAQific. Conversely,if an analyst regards TV as a unique source of infor-mation that can be used as an analytical tool, thenobstacles are more likely to be overcome.Two examples that illustrate this point involve lan-guage ability. An Asian analyst who cannot speakthe local language watches the TV coverage of theparliament to get a sense of the severity of the de-bate. She usually obtains a transcript in advancefrom Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)translations (b)(3)(n) She believesTV news adds a unique dimension to her analysis.Her inability to understand the language makes hermore selective about what she watches, however, andher viewing is often event driven. On the other hand,one analyst working on a Middle Eastern countryrarely watches TV because he does not speak thelanguage; he believes he receives all the informationhe needs through FBIS media translations. He ob-32Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862TVtains 80 percent of his information about the countryfrom the print media.In OIA, OSWR, and LDA, TV news may not bewatched daily, but it is still recognized at times as aunique source of visual information. Analysts inthese offices depend on FBIS to filter their viewing.Much of their analysis is not time sensitive, and theyhave the luxury of scanning the summaries and or-dering tapes of what they want to see. Also, FBISprovides compilation tapes based on their require-ments, and many analysts believe this is adequate.When the analysis is time sensitive and the analystsneed the footage immediately, they tend to rely moreupon getting the tape from FBIS than from watchingthe grid. If they cannot get a timely tape, however,they will reassess /heir need for the footage, oftendeciding that it does not warrant the effort of obtain-ing the video.Use of Foreign TVAnalysts use foreign TV for everything from practic-ing their language skills to analyzing governmentpropaganda. Many also believe that analysis requires"seeing" the atmospherics of a situation. Analystswho watch TV regularly often cite its timeliness asthe primary reason for viewing. The ability to watchfast-breaking developments allows the analyst to beat the forefront in reporting and analyzing events.Analysts believe that they would be at a real disad-vantage if they waited for information from othersources. This attitude was especially prevalent inEURA and OSE, where the daily news is oftenchecked for potential articles for the President'sDaily Brief and National Intelligence Daily.TimelinessThe more event driven the office, the more likely itsanalysts would be to watch TV. If a story was nottime sensitive or dealt with a longer-term issue,analysts would wait for FBIS to provide the sum-maries and translations of newcractc  (b)(1)(b)(3)(n)33-Secret?Real-time reporting seemed to be the primary reasonto watch TV among the TV users, suggesting that ifTV did not cover fast-breaking news, it would notmaintain its priority. TV was preferred over printmedia because the local papers often would not ar-rive until two or three days later.Background KnowledgeEven if TV news coverage provides no new informa-tion on the facts of the story, it often enhances ananalyst's overall understanding of a country or situa-tion. One analyst said she even paid attention to thecommercials, just for general knowledge of the peo-ple and the culture. Another analyst said that watch-ing TV was a good way for analysts who have notyet visited the country to get a general idea of whatthe streets look like, how the people dress, and othergeneral information; TV was the next best thing tobeing there.UniquenessThe video portion of TV news is the most commonsource of truly unique information, and it ranked se-cond as ---- atching the news. Text couldbe read (b)(3)(n) r the facts could be gainedelsewhere, but the footage would provide an "at-mospheric" dimension that could not be gained fromprint. Analysts could see the context in which state-ments were made or events occurred.One analyst working on a South American countrywas surprised by the permissive public attituderegarding a native politician who had violated thelaw. The politician was acquitted, and it was widelyaccepted that he bribed his way out of trouble.Although the analyst was aware that the politics ofthe country are highly personalized, she still was sur-prised that this individual was acquitted. Once shesaw him on TV, however, his popular appeal wasevident. She said his charisma would influence evena non-Spanish-speaking viewer.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862?Seepat-__LDA, OSWR, and 01A often are required to deter-mine the status of objects and people, and video al-lows them to do analysis from a primary source. Thefootage allows them to check facts.(b)(1)(b)(3)(n)Assisting AnalysisAnalysts who work on countries where TV isgovernment-controlled tend either to discount TVcompletely because it is a mouthpiece of the govern-ment or to do more analysis. Analysts who discountTV believe that they have other sources that can tellthem what is happening in the government. Thosewho do more analysis are interested in seeing whatthe government is trying to say to the people or toget the people to believe.One analyst working on another South Americancountry recalls the time when an opposition partyhad taken over several town halls in remote regionsin that country. The government-controlled news fea-tured man-on-the-street interviews asking citizens'opinions about this. Everyone condemned it, leadingthe analyst to wonder whether the interviews werestaged. Several days later the government forciblyremoved the opposition party. The analyst believesthat the interviews were trying to prepare publicopinion for this action.TVSome analysts are interested in finding our what agovernment wants its citizens to believe(b)(1)(b)(3)(n)When the media was not government controlled, afew analysts studied it to help obtain a general un-derstanding of the culture. One analyst, for example,recalled the coverage in a European country duringthe Persian Gulf War. After the US bombed thecivilian/military bunker in Baghdad, the news in thiscountry juxtaposed pictures of dying babies next topictures of American soldiers. She thought that thistype of coverage may have increased local antiwar  sentiment.(b)(1)(b)(3)(n)34Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862TV(b)(3)(n)Use of Domestic TVMost analysts regard US TV news as a source ofbackground information in the form of new facts, in-terviews, or local footage. One analyst watchedBarbara Walters's interview of Libyan leader Qadhafibecause he was interested in what Qadhafi wore and  in his general demeanor.(b)(3)(n)Some analysts were also interested because theymight be asked to comment on something raised in aUS broadcast. For example, OSE analysts were in-terested in a CNN story that implied that Ukrainethreatened to sell conventional and nuclear arms tothe Arab world. CNN had interviewed the UkrainianMinister for Defense Conversion, and OSE analystslooked at the complete interview to discover justwhat he said. They concluded that his remarks weretaken out of context and were made to sound undulycontroversial. The analysts knew that the "spin" puton the story by CNN would cause alarm, and theywanted to be ready to defuse the story.(b)(1)(b)(3)(n)35(b)(1)(b)(3)(n) (b)(3)(n)AS tie put It,"A good analyst is a good investigative reporter, sowhy not let the news and their investigative reportersdo work for you?"ProspectsWhile TV was used in some way by most analysts inthe DI, few consciously thought about using it on asystematic basis to assist their analysis. Most real-ized that they were getting more than facts, but theydid not fully realize what analytical viewing mayreveal. As the factors that affect TV viewing becomemore favorable, more analysts will probably begin touse TV. Still, until TV is viewed as an analytical toolthat gives another dimension to DI analysis, TV willnot be used as anything more than a unique andtimely source of information. If ORD's research doesindicate that foreign TV does affect its audience,then this change should begin to take place, and TVwill move from being a source of information to atool of analysis.This article is classified SECRET.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622862?SeCret?