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Darfur: Mass Media Framing of International Intervention, 2003-2007
Unformatted Document Text:  Somalia coverage, 15 percent of Rwanda coverage, 14 percent of Haiti coverage, and 7 percent of East Timor coverage had appeared on the front pages of The New York Times (see Soderlund and Briggs, in press). While no editorials on Darfur appeared in our sample until 2006, the total of 5 percent falls in the same range as the 7 percent and 5 percent written on Somalia and Haiti over six month periods in 1992 and 1994 respectively. Op-Ed columns were a major vehicle used to convey the message of the need to intervene in Darfur (see for example Kristof, 2004, Mar. 24; 2004, Mar. 31; Power, 2004, Apr. 6; and Bacon, 2006, Jan. 31). The 17 percent of Op-Ed material seen for Darfur is contrasted to the 10 percent seen in Haiti coverage, the highest percentage found in the study of ten humanitarian crises of the 1990s. These Op-Ed pieces also clearly attempted to initiate a “CNN effect” by suggesting campaigns of letter writing and calls to politicians for action. One of Kristof’s columns in early February 2006 outlines as clear a case for a CNN effect as we have ever encountered: “The reality is that the only way the White House will move on Darfur is if it is flooded with calls from the public—and that will happen only when the genocide is brought home to the living rooms around America.” And in early 2006 Kristof challenged the networks to do a better job in bringing this about (2006, Feb. 7, A21; see also Kristof, 2004, Mar. 24; 2005, Feb. 23). There was as well a comparatively huge percentage of letters-to-the-editor (20%). By way of contrast the largest 22

Authors: Sidahmed, Abdel., Briggs, E.. and Soderlund, Walter.
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Somalia
coverage, 15 percent of Rwanda coverage, 14 percent of Haiti coverage, and 7 percent of East
Timor coverage had appeared on the front pages of The New York Times (see Soderlund and
Briggs, in press).
While no editorials on Darfur appeared in our sample until 2006, the total of 5 percent
falls in the same range as the 7 percent and 5 percent written on Somalia and Haiti over six
month periods in 1992 and 1994 respectively.
Op-Ed columns were a major vehicle used to convey the message of the need to
intervene
in Darfur (see for example Kristof, 2004, Mar. 24; 2004, Mar. 31; Power, 2004, Apr. 6; and
Bacon, 2006, Jan. 31). The 17 percent of Op-Ed material seen for Darfur is contrasted to the 10
percent seen in Haiti coverage, the highest percentage found in the study of ten humanitarian
crises
of the 1990s. These Op-Ed pieces also clearly attempted to initiate a “CNN effect” by suggesting
campaigns of letter writing and calls to politicians for action. One of Kristof’s columns in early
February 2006 outlines as clear a case for a CNN effect as we have ever encountered: “The
reality
is that the only way the White House will move on Darfur is if it is flooded with calls from the
public—and that will happen only when the genocide is brought home to the living rooms
around
America.” And in early 2006 Kristof challenged the networks to do a better job in bringing this
about (2006, Feb. 7, A21; see also Kristof, 2004, Mar. 24; 2005, Feb. 23). There was as well a
comparatively huge percentage of letters-to-the-editor (20%). By way of contrast the largest
22


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