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"International terrorism, domestic coverage?"

News from Feb 13, 2014

Gerhards, Jürgen & Mike. Schäfer. 2014. International terrorism, domestic coverage? How terrorist attacks are presented in the news of CNN, Al Jazeera, the BBC, and ARD. International Communication Gazette 76(1): 3-26.

The article analyzes to what extent news reporting on terrorist attacks globalized, regionalized, or country specific.We compare coverage on four terrorist incidents in the main news shows of the US edition of CNN, of Al Jazeera’s Arabic language service, of the British BBC, and of the German ARD. The analysis shows cross-national similarities in several dimensions: the analyzed media devote nearly identical amounts of attention to the four events, employ similar stylistic devices to describe them, and evaluate them similarly. At the same time, there are notable differences. These differences are not found between Western channels and Al Jazeera – as proponents of a ‘clash of civilizations’ might expect – but between CNN and Al Jazeera on the one hand, and the BBC and ARD on the other. The former interpret the attacks as an expression of a global ‘‘war on terror’’, whereas the latter see them as criminal attacks by a few individuals against the human civilization itself.

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