Do You Know Your Enemy: The Role of Known Actors as Framing Devices in News Media

Smith, Benjamin, Andrea Figueroa-Caballero, Musa al-Gharbi & MIcheal Stohl (2020). “Do You Know Your Enemy? The Role of Known Actors as Framing Devices in News Media.” International Journal of Communication 14: 4717-4738.

22 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2020

See all articles by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith

California State University, East Bay - Department of Communication

Andrea Figueroa-Caballero

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Communication

Musa al-Gharbi

Columbia University - Department of Sociology

Michael Stohl

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Date Written: September 15, 2020

Abstract

We examine how and why al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have come to dominate discourse of the international terrorist threat in the post-9/11 era, through their emergence as the primary referents for understanding terrorism, the organizations that employ it, and the actions taken to combat it. We propose a simple mechanism — based on relevance theory — wherein a given actor might attain and sustain a socially shared understanding, allowing them to function as symbolic referents in media discourse. In Study 1, we address the plausibility of this mechanism, using computer-assisted linguistic analysis to assess coverage of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal from 1996 to 2017. In Study 2, we conduct an inductive framing analysis aimed at identifying unique and commonly reoccurring applications of framing packages relying on known actors as framing devices. We conclude by discussing implications of these practices.

Keywords: terrorism, media, discourse analysis, framing analysis, new media, war on terror

JEL Classification: B16, Z10, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Smith, Benjamin and Figueroa-Caballero, Andrea and al-Gharbi, Musa and Stohl, Michael, Do You Know Your Enemy: The Role of Known Actors as Framing Devices in News Media (September 15, 2020). Smith, Benjamin, Andrea Figueroa-Caballero, Musa al-Gharbi & MIcheal Stohl (2020). “Do You Know Your Enemy? The Role of Known Actors as Framing Devices in News Media.” International Journal of Communication 14: 4717-4738. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3693243

Benjamin Smith

California State University, East Bay - Department of Communication ( email )

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd
Hayward, CA 94542
United States

HOME PAGE: http://comm.csueastbay.edu/dr-benjamin-k-smith/

Andrea Figueroa-Caballero

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Communication ( email )

108 Switzler Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://communication.missouri.edu/people/figueroa-caballero

Musa Al-Gharbi (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Sociology ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sociology.columbia.edu/content/musa-al-gharbi

Michael Stohl

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.comm.ucsb.edu/people/michael-stohl

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