Framing Nicaragua 1979-1990 - A case study of the ability of media mass-communication to psychologically categorize and organize the world for its audience

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Framing Nicaragua 1979-1990 - A case study of the ability of media mass-communication to psychologically categorize and organize the world for its audience

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Publication Bachelor thesis
Title Framing Nicaragua 1979-1990 - A case study of the ability of media mass-communication to psychologically categorize and organize the world for its audience
Author(s) Christoffersen Yousefi, Jessica
Date 2007
English abstract
The 1980’s were troublesome years for the Nicaraguan Sandinist government and its citizens. After accomplishing the task of overthrowing the 43 years of Somoza rule in Nicaragua, a new challenge was waiting in the shape of the American war against communism. The former Somoza National Guard transformed into the notorious contras, also known as the CIA- and American government-backed freedom fighters who worked hard to recoup the nation and halter the socialist movement in the Central Americas. Today in 2007 the world knows what kind of interventions the Sandinist rule stood victims of; air-raids, sabotage, embargos and mining of the Nicaraguan harbour. Eventually the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the United States should immediately cease and refrain from any action restricting access to or from Nicaraguan ports, and, in particular, the laying of mines. But what did the American public know about its country’s silent war against Nicaragua? This is the core question of this paper. How did the media, and more specifically, how did one of the largest American newspapers the New York Times present the events in Nicaragua to its readers? This essay examines New York Times-headlines and articles covering the years between 1979-1990 in the Nicaraguan history, by means of using the agenda-setting theory, developed by Maxwell McCombs in cooperation with his colleagues Don Shaw and David Weaver. The results of this study will show confirmation of how the New York Times framed the nation of Nicaragua into a communist framework, describing the country as a authentic threat against the American society and its values. The information provided by the New York Times during this era played without doubt a key role in the construction of the American public’s visions of the Nicaraguan reality. By using attributes when mentioning Nicaragua such as “Cuba”, “the threat of nuclear war”, “Soviet” and “communism”, the American public opinion most certainly came to reflect and support the media agenda. To paraphrase McCombs, ‘The media set the agenda when they are successful in riveting attention on a problem. They build the public agenda when they supply the context that determines how people think about the issue and evaluates its merits.’
Publisher Malmö högskola/IMER
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) agenda-setting theory
framing
the New York Times
Nicaragua
CIA
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/4015 (link to this page)

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