The ‘blame game frame’: Ethical blame patterns and media framing upon negotiations failure in the Middle East

Alexandra Herfroy-Mischler, Elie Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

To understand the relationship between ethical basis of blame, framing and its impact on future negotiations in protracted conflicts, we examined the blame occurrences (n = 721) in written press coverage of the 2014 Israeli–Palestinian and the 2016 Syrian Civil War mediation efforts. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses, our study found that episodic framing is exclusively utilized when presenting action-based blame, which explicitly casts blame upon acts, while thematic framing can be utilized to present (1) action-based blame; (2) virtue-based blame, which casts blame on the personality traits of the actor; and (3) conflict-essence based blame, a meta-discourse critical of the assumption that rational, right action or virtue based on a universal ‘good’ have the potential to solve an intrinsically intractable conflict. Our data challenge the dichotomy of episodic framing/conflict escalation coverage versus thematic framing/conflict de-escalation. We illustrate that in the case of blame, thematically presented blame is more destructive for future relations and potential negotiations between the actors. These findings provide valuable insights for understanding the relationship between journalism, blame, and conflict resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1192-1211
Number of pages20
JournalJournalism
Volume21
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Funding

The authors would like to thank Jonathan Sobel and Jael Eskenazi for their dedicated work as research assistants on this project and Professor Zohar Kampf for his guidance and helpful feedback on an earlier version of this article. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

FundersFunder number
Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace

    Keywords

    • Conflict
    • discourse analysis
    • framing
    • middle east
    • narrative journalism

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