ERIC Number: ED312696
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Characterizations of Acts and Perpetrators of Political Violence in Three Elite U.S. Daily Newspapers. Terrorism and the News Media Research Project.
Picard, Robert G.; Adams, Paul D.
To explore characterizations of acts of political violence and their perpetrators, a study considered the most frequently used characterizations in the "Los Angeles Times," the "New York Times," and the "Washington Post" for the years of 1980-1985, and considered whether characterizations differed depending on their source. A total of 258 reports of 127 incidents of political violence were collected and analyzed. Findings revealed that a significant difference exists in the ways media personnel, government officials, and witnesses characterize acts of political violence and perpetrators of those acts. Media personnel and witnesses to the violence tend to use nominal characterizations (generally more neutral than those used by government officials), and government officials tend to use descriptive characterizations (often words that are more judgmental, inflammatory, and highly colored). Witness characterizations were, in fact, completely nominal. Further, findings showed that 94.3% of the characterizations were media characterizations (including headline characterizations and description, observation, and paraphrase in the article), while only 3% were direct quotes of government officials, and 2% were direct quotes of witnesses. This finding means that media quoted primary sources less than 6% of the time. (Ten tables of data are included.) (SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.; Gannett Foundation, Rochester, NY.
Authoring Institution: Emerson Coll., Boston, MA.