Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 10, December 2005

Sabine Wilhelm

Covering the war in Iraq: Frame choices in American and German national newspapers


Coverage during conflicts with threatening potential put a pressing note on accurate information about and interpretation of events. When delivering news worldwide, national spotlights as well as cross-cultural notions are set to create unique themes of interest. Those frames - offered by mass media - are vital organizing concepts to establish public agendas. The ambiguously perceived warfare on Iraq was chosen to identify differences in American and German newspaper reports. Using a quantitative content analysis, following focuses could be examined: (a) The basal organization of war-related frames in articles, and furthermore (b) formal and linguistic disparities. Results of the pilot study show that only slight variances emerge in formal characteristics (format, images). However, the linguistic analysis of frame choices (variety, war motives, evaluation of political leaders and usage of stereotyped terms) revealed to be an expandable indicator for intercultural and intra-national discrepancies.
Key words: International war coverage, Iraq War, media frames, media bias, formal and linguistic presentation of news, cultural differences in news language

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