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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani President Musharraf After 9/11
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani President Musharraf After 9/11 11 Coverage of political leaders Not many studies focus on media coverage of political leaders exclusively. One of the rare examples is Brown’s (1980) study of news articles about Steven Biko, a South African black leader whose death provoked the United States to punitive response. Brown compares the coverage of Bico in The New York Times and Washington Post before and after his death in 1977. Once he was dead, Bico was described as “moderate” and a “responsible voice” for change, although there is evidence that, while he was alive, the views that he actually supported were seen as radical in the U.S. press. In his quantitative analysis of U.S. media framing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il from 1994 to 2000, Heo (2000) concludes that the portrayals of the leader were predominantly negative. Using Entman’s (1993) definition of the four functions of a frame, Heo argues that the U.S. media defined the problem as the uncertainty of Kim and North Korea as an important threatening factor to the United States’ interests in East Asia. The cause of this threat was Kim’s irrational, unpredictable personality and behavior, while the moral judgments made claimed that the dangerous dictator is interested only in expanding armaments, movies and Swedish women. The solution suggested that the threat should be immediately eliminated. Other studies look at the framing of political leaders in the context of a certain event. Iyengar and Simon (1993) find that network news coverage during the Gulf War portrayed Saddam Hussein as a “modern Hitler, bent on annexing and controlling the world’s supply of petroleum” (p. 382). In an analysis of North American press coverage of the Peruvian hostage crisis, Bailey (2000) describes how the Peruvian president

Authors: Obad, Orlanda.
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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani
President Musharraf After 9/11
11
Coverage of political leaders
Not many studies focus on media coverage of political leaders
exclusively. One of the rare examples is Brown’s (1980) study of news articles about
Steven Biko, a South African black leader whose death provoked the United States to
punitive response. Brown compares the coverage of Bico in The New York Times and
Washington Post before and after his death in 1977. Once he was dead, Bico was
described as “moderate” and a “responsible voice” for change, although there is evidence
that, while he was alive, the views that he actually supported were seen as radical in the
U.S. press.
In his quantitative analysis of U.S. media framing of North Korean leader Kim
Jong Il from 1994 to 2000, Heo (2000) concludes that the portrayals of the leader were
predominantly negative. Using Entman’s (1993) definition of the four functions of a
frame, Heo argues that the U.S. media defined the problem as the uncertainty of Kim and
North Korea as an important threatening factor to the United States’ interests in East
Asia. The cause of this threat was Kim’s irrational, unpredictable personality and
behavior, while the moral judgments made claimed that the dangerous dictator is
interested only in expanding armaments, movies and Swedish women. The solution
suggested that the threat should be immediately eliminated.
Other studies look at the framing of political leaders in the context of a certain
event. Iyengar and Simon (1993) find that network news coverage during the Gulf War
portrayed Saddam Hussein as a “modern Hitler, bent on annexing and controlling the
world’s supply of petroleum” (p. 382). In an analysis of North American press coverage
of the Peruvian hostage crisis, Bailey (2000) describes how the Peruvian president


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