Soft Power and Hard Views: How American Commentators are Spreading over the World’s Opinion Pages

By Julia Baird

A paper by Julia Baird, spring 2005 fellow, examines the export of American thought by documenting the presence of American columnists on newspaper opinion pages around the world in the 2000s. Baird assesses what impact, if any, 9/11 and the war in Iraq had on the demand for American opinion by editors who act as local gatekeepers of thought. This paper seeks to answer three questions: 1. Were there any studies on America’s power over opinion, measured by the presence of their commentators – including those from think tanks – on the op-ed pages in other countries? 2. Had there been an increase in the number of American opinion pieces published in other countries? If so, why was this happening? 3. Were American columnists conscious of, or writing for, their global audience?

Download the paper (PDF).