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ERIC Number: ED314767
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Nov
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Reign of Confusion: ABC and the "Crisis in Iran."
Palmerton, Patricia R.
A study examined reports broadcast by ABC News between November 8, 1979 and December 7, 1979 in its series entitled "Crisis in Iran: America Held Hostage." Transcripts of approximately 50% of actual broadcasts were subjected to rhetorical critical analysis, from which the finding emerged that confusion was the predominant characteristic in ABC's description of events in Iran. President Jimmy Carter and the Ayatollah Khomeini were portrayed by ABC as potentially able to bring order to the situation but failing to do so. Americans were described as "frustrated" and "outraged," and their reactions shown as contrasting sharply with the Carter Administration's measured approach, were contrasted with the Carter Administration's measured approach, which was portrayed as being based on principles and high morals. The meaning of the crisis came to be summarized in ABC coverage as a test of the strength, image, and power of the United States. The analysis shows that events were considered for their symbolic value even more than for their pragmatic effects. Power became critically tied to image, and the possibility of American military action came to be viewed from the perspective of what message it would send to Iran and of the American unity it would reflect. Such attempts to label events based upon predisposed ideas, expectations, and limited knowledge prevent Americans from seeing the realities of given situations. (Eighty-five notes are included.) (SG)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A