Kempf, Wilhelm

Acceptance and impact of de-escalation-oriented conflict coverage




Umfang & Ausstattung 15 S.
Erschienen 06/2006
ISSN & Heft-No. 1611-1818_60


War coverage has a strong bias towards promoting conflict escalation, and – though less pronounced – this bias often survives in post-war coverage as well. Even after wars end, only a few journalists frame conflict in a strongly de-escalation-oriented way. Do they have a chance to reach the public? Will their audience regard their reports as more or less balanced and unbiased? Will their reports influence their audience’s mental models of the conflict? Or will the audience cling to its prejudices and reject news articles that are not consistent with the enemy images spread by the mainstream media?
The present paper investigates these questions in the context of a series of experimental studies which measure audience responses to escalation- and de-escalation-oriented news articles on (1) the Yugoslavian conflict after the fall of Miloševic and (2) the War on Terror.
The results of the studies show that de-escalation-oriented news articles were accepted by audiences and resulted in less polarized mental models of the events.