Examining the Relationship Between Presumed Influence of U.S. News About China and the Support for the Chinese Government’s Global Public Relations Campaigns
Inspired by the influence of presumed influence (IPI) framework, the current study examines the inferred effects of American media coverage of China, which tends to be negative and to portray China as the West’s next enemy, and the potential real-life consequences of these perceptions in the form of support for China’s global public relations efforts. A survey of a large representative sample of residents in China’s five largest cities showed that Chinese respondents believed that dominantly negative U.S. news about China was influential on Americans’ perceptions of China. Further, the more they paid attention to such news, the greater they presumed the influence of the news on Americans. Structure equation modeling (SEM) analysis shows that presumed influence of U.S. news about China on Americans and negative emotions elicited by the news predicted support for the Chinese government’s global public relations campaigns. We discuss the implications of these findings for the robust influence of presumed influence research and globalized cross-border communication.