The Social Construction of International News: We're Talking about Them, They're Talking about Us

The Social Construction of International News: We're Talking about Them, They're Talking about Us

The Social Construction of International News: We're Talking about Them, They're Talking about Us

The Social Construction of International News: We're Talking about Them, They're Talking about Us

Synopsis

Wasburn compares U.S. commercial news reports on a wide variety of major political events with those produced by the news media of several other nations. Attention is given to contrasting national images of the United States. The events include the Falklands War, the Iran-Iraq War, the Tiananmen Square Uprising, several political assassinations, trade disuputes, the Intifada, and U.S. elections.

Excerpt

Ever since Herbert Gans (1979) asked how media organizations decide “what’s news,” communication researchers, political scientists, and sociologists have been conducting extensive research on news content and the political, economic, and cultural forces that shape it. Most of their studies have concerned the products of American commercial news media. the analyses have focused on news dealing with events occurring in the United States, or with events in other countries in which the United States is directly involved. Such research can be seen as inquiring into what we (American commercial news media) say about ourselves.

Although American commercial news media talk about many apparently different subjects that constitute news, studies indicate that our commercial news media have created a rather consistent and enduring image of ourselves (American society, culture, and the location of the United States in the structure of global political, economic, and military competition). the first chapter considers a theoretical approach that explains how media construct political reality. the chapter then summarizes some of the major research findings on what we say that has become part of our shared and taken-for-granted understanding of our nation.

There are, of course, numerous occasions when we (American commercial news media) talk about them (foreign countries). Analyses of what we say about them (foreign news) are not as common as studies of domestic news. Research has tended to focus on how we treat other nations as allies, competitors, or enemies in various political, ideological, economic, and military conflicts. the second chapter reviews media coverage of two wars: the Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina (1982) and the war between Iran and Iraq (1980–1988). Each of the cases suggests that

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