Do Europeans Speak With One Another in Time of War? Results of a Media Analysis on the 2003 Iraq War
Renfordt, Swantje – 2007
By comparing European and US newspaper debates on the 2003 Iraq War, this working paper empirically tests whether a European public sphere exists regarding the contested issue of war and peace. This component of foreign and security policy represents a hard case for the evolution of European communication and looking for it empirically leads into nearly uncharted territory, as most studies have not yet addressed this particular policy field. The data set includes more than 400 articles from six respected newspapers in Germany, Great Britain, and the US, which serve in this case as a non-European control group. One interesting finding of the frame analysis is the fact that one can identify a European community of communication that relates to the legal dimension of the Iraq-debate and to discourses in two European countries. Opinions related to the question whether or not the use of military force complies with international law vary widely in all three countries. However, in contrast to the discourse prevalent in the US, both the German and the British discourses show a strong preference for upholding the rule of international law.