The increasing visibility of national leaders in news media generates cues that might contribute substantially to the structure of international mass opinion regarding their nations. This study shows that Americans' behavioral intentions in favor or against a foreign nation are affected by their perceptions of its leader. Using data from four experiments (N = 1,751), we demonstrate that exposure to news coverage of a foreign leader's behaviors is causally related to intentions (a) to support a foreign policy (i.e., economic and military aid) in favor of that leader's country, (b) to purchase products imported from there, and (c) to visit it as a tourist. We discuss the theoretical implications of the findings for the management of foreign relations, public diplomacy, and other aspects of the international arena.
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© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The World Association for Public Opinion Research. All rights reserved.