- Some dared call it torture: cultural resonance, Abu Ghraib, and a selectively echoing press
- Journal of Communication
- Volume | Issue number
- 61 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
This study draws upon research on "indexing" and "cascading activation" to explore U.S. political and news discourse surrounding the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Specifically, we systematically analyze White House, military, congressional, and news messages. In so doing, we incorporate scholarship on social identity theory to suggest why news media challenge certain White House frames but uncritically echo others. Our data demonstrate that White House frames were consistently challenged by Democrats in the opposing party, but that these competing congressional messages were largely absent in news coverage. These results challenge previous research on news coverage of Abu Ghraib. We discuss how these patterns align with and expand Entman's cascading activation model of press-state relations, and consider the implications for future scholarship.
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