This paper was originally due to appear much earlier, but was just recently published by the graduate journal STREAM at SFU.
To download the full article click here.
Early research into Terrorism and News Media coverage showed in the 1990s the importance of terms like “guerrilla” to the inevitable link between Terrorist activities and news coverage of those activities. By the turn of the century content analysis was used to examine major news frames in Terrorism reporting in Newspapers and on Television.
However two major developments happened soon after that would greatly affect the environment within which the Framing of Terrorism takes place in media. The first of these was the creation of the Internet, online news, and eventually social media. The second event were the Terrorist attacks of 9-11 in 2001.
The research paper below uses early versions of network mapping and content analysis software in order to examine Terrorism news online comparatively between the George W. Bush administration of 2005 and Barack H. Obama’s first term in the White House in 2009.
The research shows that since 9-11 and the rise of digital media the term ‘insurgent’ came to predominate as a frame for Terrorist activities, particularly during the Bush Jr. administration. The term ‘extremist’ also grew in importance, and groups such as the Animal Liberation Front were more harshly framed as Terrorists under the Bush Jr. administration than either before the rise of digital media or during Obama’s first term.
In terms of social media networks, another interesting finding is that the Obama administration’s presence online had more direct connections to Peace and Activist Networks than the Bush Jr. White House did several years earlier.
click- through to zoom in
Overall, while central frames of Iraq stayed surprisingly consistent over time, the early days of the Obama administration showed a more direct involvement of the Executive in online news than the late days of the Bush Jr. admin, and the rise of blogs and blogger networks over time allowed for more alternative frames and interpretations of Terrorism, as was predicted by earlier research in the field.
The research carried out with the early methods presented in this paper shows that the clash of civilization hypothesis, so strongly adhered to by the Bush Jr. administration, is challenged to some extent by the rise of social media and the implication of major institutions in global online Peace Networks. While there is a long way to go before an alternate paradigm such as the dignity of difference takes root, there are more opportunities for such diversity offered through the digital environment than was the case in the past.
To read the abstract click here.
And to download the full article click here.