Archive | 2021

Labeling of groups and events (Terrorism Coverage)



Labeling of groups and events describes how groups connected to religious, political or other forms of violence as well as their acts are labeled or evaluated. These labels might vary from more nominal descriptions (e.g., “gunmen”) to more judgmental descriptions (e.g., “terrorist”), leading to different perceptions of these groups and acts by the public.\nField of application/theoretical foundation:\nLabels for groups and events are of interest in journalism research, political communication, research on terrorism and violence as well as stereotyping. These measurements are often based on “Social Identity Theory” (Brown, 2000) as a theoretical foundation for why some groups and events connected to violence are described in a negative way – i.e., as an out-group –, whilst others are described in a neutral way or even positively, i.e., as an in-group.\nReferences/combination with other methods of data collection:\nA study by Huff and Kertzer (2017) for example combines a conjoint experiment with an “Automated Content Analysis” of media coverage to understand how the public would label different acts of violence in comparison to the media.\nTwo studies that have been particularly influential in studying the labeling of violent acts and perpetrators will be discussed in more detail in the following sections.\nExample studies:\nNagar (2010); Weimann (1985)\n\xa0\nInformation on Nagar, 2010\nAuthor: Nagar\nResearch question:\xa0How did American news media cover politically violent organizations that are not linked to Al Qaeda or the events of 9/11?\nObject of analysis:\xa0News coverage by two American newspapers (The New York Times, The Washington Post)\nTime frame of analysis: 1998–2004\nInfo about variables\nVariable name/definition: Media frame: “First, the labels that describe political violence were coded separately for each segment. Second, the article frame was determined based on the most frequent label.” (Nagar, 2010, p. 537)\nLevel of analysis: Headline, lead paragraph, text\nVariables and values: four different label categories for labels in text: neutral (“rebel”, “rebellion”, “insurgent”, “insurgency”, “guerrilla”, “militant”, “combatants”, “revolt”, “uprising”, “revolutionary”, “paramilitaries”, “insurrection”, “separatist”), negative (“terror”, “terrorize”, “terrorist”, “terrorism”), positive (“freedom fighter”, “liberation movement”, “independence movement”), no label mentioned\nReliability: Krippendorff’s alpha: .82\n\xa0\nInformation on Weimann, 1985\nAuthors:\xa0Weimann\nResearch question:\xa0Which labels did the press use in referring to terrorists when covering terrorist attacks?\nObject of analysis:\xa0Israel’s major newspapers\nTime frame of analysis: 1979–1981\nInfo about variables\nVariable name/definition: Label\nVariables and values: three different labels categories for labels in text: negative (“murderers”, “saboteurs”, “assassins”, “separatists”), neutral (“guerillas”, “army”, “front”, “nationalists”, “underground”, “separatists”) and positive (“patriots”, “freedom fighters”, “liberation movement”, “liberation organization”)\nReliability: not applicable\n\xa0\nTable 1. Measurement of “Labeling of Groups and Events” in terrorism coverage.\n\n\n\n\n\nAuthor(s)\n\n\nSample\n\n\nManifestations\n\n\nReliability\n\n\nCodebook\n\n\n\n\nBoyle & Mower (2018)\n\n\nNewspaper articles\n\n\nComputer-assisted key-word search, looking up labels such as “terror”\n\n\nNot applicable\n\n\nNot available\n\n\n\n\nDe Veen & Thomas (2020)\n\n\nNewspaper articles\n\n\n3 different label categories: negative (“terrorist”, “racist”, “extremist”, “fundamentalist” and clear links to terrorist organizations such as ISIS), neutral (“perpetrator”, “shooter”, “attacker” or other labels emphasizing race and ethnicity, for example “Muslim” or “American”), or positive (family- or work-related labels such as “father” or “colleagues”)\n\n\nNot reported\n\n\nNot available\n\n\n\n\nNagar (2010)\n\n\nNewspaper articles\n\n\n4 different label categories: neutral (“rebel”, “rebellion”, “insurgent”, “insurgency”, “guerrilla”, “militant”, “combatants”, “revolt”, “uprising”, “revolutionary”, “paramilitaries”, “insurrection”, “separatist”), negative (“terror”, “terrorize”, “terrorist”, “terrorism”), positive (“freedom fighter”, “liberation movement”, “independence movement”), or no label mentioned\n\n\nKrippendorf’s alpha: .82\n\n\nAvailable\n\n\n\n\nPicard & Adams (1987)\n\n\nNewspaper articles\n\n\n2 different label categories: nominal (e.g., “attacker”) or descriptive (e.g., “radical”)\n\n\nHolsti: .98\n\n\nNot available\n\n\n\n\nSamuel-Azran et al. (2015)\n\n\nNewspaper articles\n\n\n7 different labels for perpetrators: “terrorist/Jewish terrorist”, “the Jewish terrorist”, “terror-accused”, “killer”, “mass murderer”, “serial stabber/criminal”, “other”;\n9 different labels for act: “terror”, “massacre/mass murders”, “bombing/shooting”, “right wing crime”, “description assault (stabbing etc.)”, “criminal”, “attack”, “insanity”, “other”\n\n\nScott’s pi indicating lowest value for any variable in the study: .86\n\n\nNot available\n\n\n\n\nSimmons & Lowry (1990)\n\n\nMagazine articles\n\n\n13 different labels for perpetrators: “terrorist”, “gunman”, “guerilla”, “attacker”, “extremist”, “radical”, “hijacker”, “revolutionary”, “nationalist”, “armed man/men”, “leftist”, “rightist”, “militiaman/militiamen”\n\n\nNot reported\n\n\nAvailable\n\n\n\n\nWeimann (1985)\n\n\nNewspaper articles\n\n\n3 different labels categories for perpetrators: negative (“murderers”, “saboteurs”, “assassins”, “separatists”), neutral (“guerillas”, “army”, “front”, “nationalists”, “underground”, “separatists”), or positive (“patriots”, “freedom fighters”, “liberation movement”, “liberation organization”)\n\n\nNot applicable\n\n\nNot available\n\n\n\n\n\n\xa0\nReferences\nBoyle, K., & Mower, J. (2018). Framing terror: A content analysis of media frames used in covering ISIS. Newspaper Research Journal, 39(2), 205–219. doi:10.1177/0739532918775667\nBrown, R. (2000). Social identity theory: past achievements, current problems and future challenges. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30(6), 745–778.\nDe Veen, L., & Thomas, R. (2020). Shooting for neutrality? Analysing bias in terrorism reports in Dutch newspapers. Media, War & Conflict. Advance Online Publication. doi:10.1177/1750635220909407\nHuff, C., & Kertzer, J.D. (2017). How the public defines terrorism. American Journal of Political Science, 62(1), 55-71. doi:10.1111/ajps.12329\nNagar, N. (2010). Who is afraid of the t-word? Labeling terror in the media coverage of political violence before and after 9/11. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33(6), 533–547. doi:10.1080/10576101003752655\nPicard, R. G., & Adams, P. D. (1987). Characterizations of acts and perpetrators of political violence in three elite U.S. daily newspapers. Political Communication, 4(1), 1–9. doi:10.1080/10584609.1987.9962803\nSamuel-Azran, T., Lavie-Dinur, A., & Karniel, Y. (2015). Narratives used to portray in-group terrorists: A comparative analysis of the Israeli and Norwegian press. Media, War & Conflict, 8(1), 3–19. doi:10.1177/1750635214531106\nSimmons, B. K., & Lowry, D. N. (1990). Terrorists in the news, as reflected in three news magazines, 1980–1988. Journalism Quarterly, 67(4), 692–696. doi:10.1177/107769909006700423\nWeimann, G. (1985). Terrorists or freedom fighters? Labeling terrorism in the Israeli press. Political Communication, 2(4), 433–445. doi:10.1080/10584609.1985.9962776

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DOI 10.34778/2V
Language English
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