EjSBS - The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences

The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences

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The Effect of Dominant Ideology on Media: The Syria Case

Abstract

Media, as an effective ideological apparatus, bind society to sovereign power by will rather than pressure. Newspapers play an important role as part of the media in shaping the provision of consent. The purpose of this study is to explore the question of whether ideology has an effect on the news content in newspapers; specifically of Syria news in two ideologically opposed Turkish newspapers, Sabah and Cumhuriyet. According to interpretation of the data, both newspapers are ideologically biased in covering Syria news. Syria news is almost equal in terms of numbers however not equal in sizes. In positioning the news Cumhuriyet covers respectable number of related news on the first page, which shows that there is a great emphasis on the issue in its agenda. On the other hand Sabah does not seem to put much emphasis on the subject. In content analysis of the news Cumhuriyet has an even distribution according to subjects unlike Sabah, which handles the issue as foreign news. In news selection factors; Cumhuriyet covered more intensity impact news, more unexpected news, more familiar, continuing news and worse event containing news according to Sabah. Cumhuriyet and Sabah covered all its news compatible with their newspaper’s composition and balance. News coverage is almost same regarding the reference factor in news from elite nations, people or institutions. In conclusion, both newspapers have ideological bias according to their news content which is effective on shaping the public perception.

Keywords: Dominant ideology, media, newspapers, foreign news

Introduction

Media has an important function in imposing its thoughts to public by pretending as if it is independent of power. It also helps to maintain social control by formatting social thought according to the ideology of the ruling. In fact, public opinion is not the voice of society; it is the voice of power. It uses all the amenities for trying to format and check the community. According to Althusser (1971), as an ideological state apparatus, media binds society to sovereign power by will rather than pressure. In this perspective, newspapers play an important role as part of the media in shaping the provision of consent. In the last century, especially in developed countries which has been experienced great progress, it has been witnessed that media is used effectively as an ideological apparatus of power in terms of shaping the public opinion. Content of the newspapers can give us traces about the purpose of the related ideology.

Sreberny-Mohammadi (1984) stated that regionalism shows itself explicitly in foreign news. In her study, up to 63% of foreign news in the press is composed of other countries’ news located within the nearby geographical area. Stevenson and Cole (1984) also asserted that world press gives priority to neighboring geographical area of the country in foreign news. This conclusion is also valid for the Turkish press. In the research of Ahmet Tan (1989), it is stated that 85% of the news in the Turkish press is concerned with the country's foreign policy issues. Foreign policy is emerging as the most important determinant on the overall structure of foreign news.

News about Syria in Turkish newspapers is seen as an obvious example including internal and external policies of power politics and as a neighboring country. Turkish government’s foreign policy towards Syria has been changed with the onset of Syrian internal turmoil. As for the ministry of foreign affairs (2013), the recent developments in Syria carry the potential to exceed the limits of peace and stability in the region. According to Cagaptay (2013); for all the talk of Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors (Davutoglu, 2010)” no amount of soft power has been able to protect the country from the protracted civil war in Syria and it turns out that old hard power is most useful. Government’s Syria policy is heavily criticized by the opposition parties in the meantime. Many of criticism are related to the type of given support and the address of aid which may be in the boundaries of hard power apparatuses. Content analysis of Syria news in newspapers within this perspective is going to give us idea about the current ideological conflict and bias of media.

Problem Statement

It is a matter for consideration to show the impact of dominant ideology on the media. Theoretical context displays different patterns for the related issue. However, there is not much research on ideological bias of Turkish media, specifically on newspapers. Newspapers as an ideological state apparatus might represent Turkish government’s and opposition parties’ ideological opinions and they might show bias on behalf of their ideological tendency. However, a case study has to be done to lay out the inclination of ideological opinion and to prove the relationship. Syria case is an actual fact on the newspapers’ agenda with different political views which has to be clarified within the effects of ideology.

Research question

Does the dominant ideology has an effect on the news in newspapers within the content?

Assumptions

Media are represented by the newspapers. Dominant ideology in the context meant to be the government’s political view.

Theoretical Framework

Dominant Ideology, Hegemony and Media

Ideology has an extended set of meanings which gives a rich elasticity to itself. But it is not that one can infer different meanings on a kind of context. Ideology is a good definition to illustrate ethics and public memo of nations, movements or organizations. It generally refers to social power relations and political economic background. But ideology is ineffective without deed and practice. However, it has to be accepted and put into practice in constructive means. From Gramsci through “Frankfurt School” theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer to the “cultural studies” approach of Stuart Hall and Raymond Williams, scholars studied on the effects of dominant ideology regarding the media.

Louis Althusser (1971) stated that whereas the repressive state apparatus belongs to the public field, on the contrary, churches, parties, trade unions, families, some schools, most newspapers and cultural ventures are in private field. As it is stated; press, radio and television are ideological state apparatuses. Repressive state apparatuses function “by violence”, whereas the ideological state apparatuses function “by ideology”.

According to Raymond Williams (1976) ideology arises from a definite class. Hall Jaquet, and Lindner (1977) argues that ideology maintains social class divisions and John B. Thompson states that ideology can properly be understood as “dominant ideology” in which symbols are used by the dominant power (as cited in Lull, 2002, p.7). It is advocated by a range of channels by political and economic power elites. Manipulation of information creates dominant ideology which assists uphold interests of power elites. Power comes from the skill to articulate their preferred set of ideas. Nonetheless ideology may be put into practice by representation and communication.

The thought of manipulation and use of people by the ruling class is one of the main arguments of modern Marxist cultural analysis. In “German Ideology”, Marx and Engels (1976) stated that “The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relations, the dominant material relations grasped as ideas; hence of the relations which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance.” Accordingly ruling class propagates ideology which justifies itself and makes it invisible for the exploited people. For Donald Lazarre, “This domination is perpetuated both through propaganda in political rhetoric, news reporting, advertising and public relations and through unconscious absorption of capitalistic values by creators and consumers.” In this prospect media is important in spread of false consciousness. It is the direction and justifiable reason for people to believe in. At this point it should be analyzed on the purpose of media manipulation and creation of false consciousness. According to Enzenberger, “There cannot be unmanipulated writing, filming or broadcasting. Therefore, the question is not whether the media are manipulated, but who manipulates them” (as cited in Berger, 1992, p.36-38). In this view media are set tools of manipulation which we face in our normal life. If ideology covers and dominates all aspects of our life, “hegemony” term should be dealt in this perspective.

In ordinary meaning, hegemony is domination by one over another. But as ideology it has different meanings and aspects. Hall (1985) describes it as domination and subordination in the field of relations structured by power. Antonio Gramsci broadened Marxist theory into the realm of ideology. He emphasized that mass media are tools that ruling elites use to “perpetuate their power, wealth and status by popularizing their own philosophy, culture and morality”. Since they manage key socializing institutions, possessor and directors of media instruments can produce the content, nuance and character of ideas favorable to them far more easily than other groups, thus guaranteeing their views spread into the public arena. Ideologies give messages supporting its well- being together by institutions and the mass media which is done in the essence of hegemony. According to Hall et al. (1977) dominant class determine the mental and structural limits which subordinate classes live in such a way to maintain dominance of ruling elite.

However, Kellner (2006, p. 15) asserts that hegemony is not established firmly by ideological verbalization. Gramsci asserts that hegemony connects ideological representation to culture. Societies maintained their stability through a combination of domination and hegemony, defined as “intellectual and moral leadership.” In this conception, social orders are founded and reproduced with some institutions and groups violently exerting power and domination to maintain social boundaries and rules while other institutions (like religion, schooling, or the media) induce consent to the dominant order through establishing the hegemony, or ideological dominance of a distinctive type of social order.

Control of Media Power

It is important for scholars to understand the gate keeping process for the control of media and its influence on the reality presented to the public as gatekeepers provide a picture of the world for the rest of us. If gate keeping is controlled by ideological factors, as Herman and Chomsky (1988) have argued, then we need to be precise about why it is worthwhile to study other levels of analysis. One other critical issue will be considered here: the so-called “forces” at the gates in the gate keeping process. Lewin (1951) (as cited in Shoemaker, 2009, p. 80) stated that forces at the gate determine which items becomes news and which do not. These forces edge the independence of gatekeepers and shape the news in consistent ways. At least there are pressures on gatekeepers to select or not select information.

According to Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model (1988), the filters narrow the range of news that passes through the gates, and edge what can become news. Especially news from primary establishment sources meets major filter requirement and is readily put up by the mass media. Messages from protesters are at an initial disadvantage in sourcing costs and credibility, and they often do not comply with the ideology or interests of the gatekeepers and other powerful parties that influence the filtering process. The elite domination of the media and marginalization of dissidents that results from the operation of these filters occurs so naturally that people are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news on the basis of professional news values.

Mills (1956) defined the “Power Elite” as people whose positions enable them to transcend ordinary environments of ordinary people. Regarding the power elite, political economist Nicholas Garnham, wrote about the two famous broadcast firms and stated that these institutions are not responsible to the public but to the pressures of the power elite, government, big business and the cultural establishment (as cited in Moe & Syvertsen, 2009, p. 404). They manipulate the public in the interest of power elite and socialize the individual broadcaster so that he collaborates in this process almost unconsciously

Regarding the issue we can deduce the perception of the invisible effect of power elite on public in ideological aspects. They have moderate effect especially on agenda setting procedure which has to be dealt on.

Agenda Setting and Manipulation in Media

Mass media giving certain issues frequently and conspicuously with the result that large segments of the public perceive those issues as more important than others is an agenda setting procedure. Simply, the more coverage an issue receives, the more important it is to people. It has been called the “most worth pursuing” of mass communication theories (Blumler & Kavanagh, 1999, p. 225). Coleman, McCombs, Shaw, and Weaver outlined (as cited in Wanta & Ghanem, 2000) that agenda-setting studies still routinely measure and rank-order the number of stories on specific issues in the media using content analysis, then survey the public to ascertain their views on what are the “Most Important Problems” of the day.

Agenda setting procedure need effective news. According to Bird and Dardenne (2009, p. 209) effective news tells the audience through story frames. Stories help construct the world, and power elite benefit from constructing the world in particular ways. Some stories feed the agendas of those in power, and danger comes from conscious manipulation by those who supply the motifs upon which journalists build those narratives.

“Creation, manipulation, and dissemination of images; their combination with words; the public’s interpretation of them; and their roles in the way “the story” gains ascendancy offer enormous potential for important, interesting, and necessary research” (Bird & Dardenne, 2009, p. 213).

Van Dijk (1998) stated that the ideological incline of a news source may be apparent from editorials or opinion pieces. News reporting is supposed to be non-partisan. Then, it can be assumed that facts should be separated from opinion.

Methodology

In general, the purpose of this study is to show the impact of dominant ideology on the media. Specific purpose is to analyze Syria news in Sabah and Cumhuriyet newspapers by content which is one of the agenda setting problems of Turkey in the recent period. By analyzing current news, it will be determined the state of serving content to the overall objective. In the phase of analyzing the research material, quantitative and qualitative data will be interpreted by the result of analyzing Syria news in Sabah and Cumhuriyet newspapers in content. Krippendorff (1989) described content analysis as a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from data to their context. It seeks to analyze context within a specific data in view of the meaning ascribed to them.

Content analysis depends on analyzing the communication tools or symbolic behavior of people instead of inspecting the behavior directly. In this text, sample news related to Syria in November 2013 in Cumhuriyet and Sabah newspapers will be analyzed by qualitative and quantitative content regarding the dominant ideology. In the study; number, positioning and content of Syria news will be evaluated at first. An assessment will be made after the similarities and disparities between the news are found.

In complex information world, a number of criteria have been introduced for determining news. The first major research in this area has been made by Galtung and Ruge (1965) and a model has been set up. Bell (1991, p.155) described the work as “the foundation study of news values.” According to this model events become news to the extent that they satisfy the conditions of twelve factors. In this study six factors will be used to evaluate news about Syria in Cumhuriyet and Sabah Newspapers. These are; Threshold, Unexpectedness, Continuity, Composition, Reference and Negativity. Selected news will be evaluated in terms of the related factors. Researcher made the selection of news according to the definitions of factors objectively as possible.

Sabah newspaper is known to be close to the government and published under the values of the center-right and liberal policies. Cumhuriyet newspaper is known to be close to the socialist left ideology and to the main opposition party. According to the December 2013 report of Press and Advertising Agency, Sabah’s daily sales average is 322.879, Cumhuriyet’s daily sales average is 50.806. This work is limited with the news related to Syria in Sabah and Cumhuriyet newspapers in November 2013.

Results and Discussion

Research of Syria News in Sabah and Cumhuriyet Newspapers by Content Analysis

Assessment by Number of News

To determine the representation of different ideologies, it is essential to show examples of selected news. For example, in news in Cumhuriyet newspaper (Headline wars in media, 16 November 2013, p. 7) it has been stated as “Newspapers close to the government replied in headlines to the …. Sabah Newspaper …” Selected news content shows the ideological bias on political aspects and implies that Sabah is a newspaper close to government.

Table 1 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News in Newspapers
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In between the period, Table 1 shows that %50 of Syria news is covered in Sabah, %50 is covered in Cumhuriyet which are almost equal in quantities. Representing two different opinions in the Turkish press, Syria news coverings might be equal in terms of numbers however it has difference in other aspects. Especially the news on Syria in these two newspapers is not equal in size. Cumhuriyet newspaper has spared much place compared to Sabah.

Assessment by Positioning of News

Table 2 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News in Positioning of the News
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In positioning the Syria news it is seen in Table 2 that Cumhuriyet cover the news of %29,4 on first page in headlines. Sabah has only one news in the first page which corresponds to the %2 of its total news about Syria. Much of the Syria news was covered in foreign news page of the two newspapers. But %72 of the Syria news is in the foreign news page in Sabah which has a large portion of the total. In Cumhuriyet %37,2 of the total Syria news are in foreign news page which is almost equal compared to the other pages of newspaper. If news is covered in first page in headlines, it is detailed in the other pages of the newspaper. Therefore, in numbering news, if the selected news is covered in first page, it is not counted again in other pages. Other pages include domestic policy, economy, etc. In comparison of percentages of other pages’ news, there is not much difference between newspapers. But Cumhuriyet has more coverage of news by %33,3 to the Sabah’s coverage of %26.

Headlines in the first pages take the notice of public in terms of the set agenda. As Cumhuriyet covers respectable number of related news on the first page and details it in the other pages, it shows that there is a great emphasis on the issue in its agenda. It is only natural that readers of Cumhuriyet might have different views regarding the Syria news. However, Cumhuriyet tries to be effective on its readers with its agenda. Sabah covers Syria news ordinarily in foreign news page which has a preference in demonstration of the Syria news as a foreign policy issue and not as a domestic policy issue. Sabah does not seem to put much emphasis on the subject therefore its signification of Syria news is rather related to foreign policy.

Assessment by Content of News

Table 3 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Subject of the News
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The percentage of Syria news covered as a foreign policy issue in Sabah (%60) is more than Cumhuriyet (%50) according to Table 3. But the situation is reversing in domestic policy issues which Cumhuriyet (%20) surpasses Sabah (%12) in percentage. In subjects of humanitarian crisis, economy, chemical weapons and border crossings Sabah and Cumhuriyet has an almost equal covering. Sabah has no coverage regarding the Syria news on terrorism issue unlike Cumhuriyet.

In economy subject, Cumhuriyet news on 14 December 2014 on top middle part of 13th page, in big black letters with headlines “Syrian Upraised Current Account Deficit” which criticizes the Syrian immigrant policy of Turkey is politically biased towards opposition views. In Sabah news on 09 December 2014 on top middle part of 11th page, in big black letters with headlines “First Economic Action from Syrian Opposition” which deals on Syrian dissents making economic organization for progress to return the refugees. In the news it may imply that Syrian dissidents do their best that they can. General approach of Cumhuriyet news has a critical point of view towards government actions on Syria issues. Sabah’s approach is more supportive of governmental actions towards Syria issues.

Cumhuriyet shares Syria news with an even distribution in related subject areas in newspaper, so that Syria news is not just related to foreign policy but other subject areas too. In this distribution of subjects it is considered that Cumhuriyet is more biased than Sabah on the issues of Syria affecting other subject areas.

Research of Syria News in Sabah and Cumhuriyet Newspapers by Factors (Galtung and Ruge, 1965).

Threshold

Table 4 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Threshold Effect of the News
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Events have to pass a threshold before being recorded at all; the greater the intensity (the more gruesome the murder or the more casualties in an accident), the greater the impact and the more likely it is to be selected (O’Neill & Harcup, 2009, p. 164). Threshold factor is reduced to the intensity of impact in the selection of the news. Cumhuriyet (%35) covered greater intensity impact news according to Sabah (%18) which is shown on Table 4. Ferocious, casualties and impact on people etc. news are specified as news which has greater intensity impact on reader.

Cumhuriyet covered news on 08 December 2013 which has threshold effect. In the news headlines “’Al-Qaeda Bridge Turkey’ /‘Truck full of weapon’ / ‘Erdogan got used to scold journalists’” First news is cited from CNN television. News is given in the first page on top right part, bordered with a single medium size line and on top of it has a supporting picture of militants with guns, face are hidden, searching over people holding their arms up which is significant at first sight. In the same borders second news details about security forces’ search of a truck which is full of rockets. It gives clues about the address of the rockets which might be Syria and means in a veiled form that Turkey has a bridge role in transfer. And in the same borders third news is given in thin lined borders, in white capital letters with red fill around which is striking. It has an opposed opinion towards the prime minister which is mentioned clandestine in the first two news and supported with third news. Sabah has no news regarding the issue on that day and did not appraise “the discovery of weapons” as news in news factors. Sabah has more low intensity news which might mean the unexaggeration of the set events.

Unexpectedness

Table 5 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Unexpectedness Effect of the News
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Among events meaningful and consonant, the unexpected or rare event is more likely to be selected as news. As shown on Table 5, Cumhuriyet (%41) covered more unexpected news according to Sabah (%28). In Cumhuriyet news on 30 December 2013 on top middle part of third page, in white capital letters with headlines around red filled “Syrian Immigrants Hope Voyage Ended in Aegean Sea” is an unexpected news. After the first headline a second headline is drawn attention “6 dead, one of them is child / All I wanted is to feed my child”. This may be a rare incident; in context it justifies the event in logical grounds. Sabah covers the same news in the same date, in 17th page on top left part with headlines “Immigrant Boat Sink in Aegean Sea, six dead, one of them child”. It covers the news in humanitarian perspective. Both newspapers handle the news in direct reporting method. Regarding the specific news a prominent bias is not identified in context.

Continuity

Table 6 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Continuity Effect of the News
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An event already in the news has a good chance of remaining in the news because it has become familiar and easier to interpret. Cumhuriyet (%78) covered more familiar and continuing news according to Sabah (%40) in Table 6.

In Cumhuriyet news on 30 December 2013 on top middle part of third page, in white capital letters, around red filled with headlines “Syrian Immigrants Hope Voyage Ended in Aegean Sea” is familiar news. Sabah also covered the same news with little difference. But context is almost same in meaning. Cumhuriyet covered news on 09 December 2013 which has continuity effect, on middle part of first page, in big black letters with headlines “Fate of Investigation Related to Captured Weapons at Borderline is Uncertain”. It is a continuing subject before the news and is normal according to this factor for handling the issue after the specific news. Similar subject is covered after the specific news as well. At the same date Sabah covered news on bottom right part of 22th page, in big black letters with headlines “The Proof of Nonsupport to the Radicals”. It emphasizes that Turkish government do not support the radicals in Syria which tries to reply the allegations on the subject as a continuing issue. Sabah also covered chemical weapon subject as continuing news on 30 December 2013 as Cumhuriyet did in the same way. Difference between the two newspapers in familiarity factor is seen in the governmental actions to the incidents related to Syria.

Composition

Table 7 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Composition Effect of the News
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An event may be included as news less because of its intrinsic news. Event is valuable if it fits into the overall composition or balance of a newspaper. Cumhuriyet and Sabah covered all its news compatible with their newspaper’s composition and balance. According to Table 7, two newspapers are in accordance with the news selection values they have implemented.

In Cumhuriyet news on 04 December 2013 on top middle part of first page, in big black letters with headlines, “Who Gave the Permission to Rabıta / Secret Hospitals Founded for Syrian Rebels Tightens Government” is compatible with newspaper’s composition and balance. It has a criticizing theme on government policies. On the other hand the criticizing attitude in news of Sabah is not effective enough. In Sabah news on 17 December 2013 on top middle part of 22th page, in big white letters with headlines, “Elite Families of Damascus Continues in Entertainment” is compatible with newspaper’s composition. Except the humanitarian and foreign news agency cited issues it is generally seen that two newspapers set news agendas as inclined in their political views.

Table 8 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Reference Effect of the News
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The actions of elite nations are seen as more consequential than the actions of other nations. Again, the actions of elite people, likely to be famous, may be seen by news selectors as having more consequence than others, and news audiences may identify with them (O’Neill & Harcup, 2009, p. 165). Cumhuriyet and Sabah news coverage are almost same regarding the reference factor in news from elite nations, people or institutions as shown on Table 8.

In Sabah news on 06 December 2013 on middle part of 22th page, in big white letters with headlines, “9,3 Million Syrian Need Help” and in Cumhuriyet news on 30 December 2014 on top middle part of 14th page, in big black letters with headlines, “Syria’s Lost Generation” are cited from United Nations reports which is an elite institution. In Cumhuriyet news on 28 December 2013 on middle right part of first page, in big black letters with headlines, “Syrian Opposition Prime minister Tumeh: ‘Our Base is Gaziantep’” is a decent example for a known person in Syria as a reference factor. In Sabah news on 18 December 2013 on middle part of 20th page, in big black letters with headlines, “Foreign Affairs Minister Davutoglu: ‘Cannot Afford to Remain Distant to Each Other” is also a decent example for an elite person reference.

Negativity

Table 9 - The Number and Percentage of Syria News on Negativity Effect of the News
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Bad events are generally unambiguous and newsworthy. Cumhuriyet (%53) covered more news including bad events according to Sabah (%38) as seen on Table 9. In Cumhuriyet news on 13 December 2013 on bottom right part of first page, in white capital letters, around red filled with headlines “Both Rebel and Informer” which has bad event context. News is about the possible receiver of the illegal ammunitions held in Turkey, linked with the bombings in Reyhanlı and an informer of intelligence organization of Turkey. It is stressed in news that he is an informer of National Intelligence Agency. News implicitly criticizes the acts of government. Sabah has no news regarding the issue on that day which indirectly stays away such news. In Sabah news on 05 December 2013 on top middle part of 18th page, in big black letters with headlines “Cross border Bullet Hit While Watching TV” and Cumhuriyet news on same date with headlines, “Bullets crossed the border again” are negative events with same content strengthened by connected pictures. In general, negative events in two newspapers do not have political bias in the same subjects.

Conclusion and Suggestions

According to Althusser (1971) media binds society to sovereign power by will rather than pressure. In shaping the provision of consent, news in the newspapers are important apparatuses. However, news contents may have ideological backgrounds. In the paper we search the answer for whether dominant ideology has effect on news within the content and whether the news in Sabah and Cumhuriyet newspapers carry ideological bias in particular. In theoretical work, we presume generally from the Marxist thought that news carry ideological bias. In our analyzing the research material, quantitative and qualitative data is interpreted in content on Syria news in Sabah and Cumhuriyet newspapers.

Representing two different opinions in the Turkish press, Syria news coverings are almost equal in terms of numbers however are not equal in size of the news. Cumhuriyet newspaper has spared much place compared to Sabah.

In positioning the news Cumhuriyet covers respectable number of related news on the first page and details it in the other pages. It shows that there is a great emphasis on the issue in its agenda. Sabah covers Syria news ordinarily in foreign news page which has a preference in demonstration of the Syria news as a foreign policy issue and not as a domestic policy issue. Sabah does not seem to put much emphasis on the subject.

In content of the subjects Cumhuriyet shares Syria news with an even distribution in related subject areas in newspaper. In this distribution of subjects it is considered that Cumhuriyet is more biased than Sabah on the issues of Syria news. General approach of Cumhuriyet news has a critical point of view towards government actions on Syria issues. Sabah’s approach is more supportive of governmental actions towards Syria issues.

In news selection factors; Cumhuriyet covered greater intensity impact news according to Sabah. Likewise, Cumhuriyet covered more unexpected news according to Sabah. But both newspapers handle the news in direct reporting manner in which prominent bias is not identified. Cumhuriyet covered more familiar and continuing news according to Sabah. Difference between the two newspapers in familiarity factor is seen in the governmental actions in incidents related to Syria. Cumhuriyet and Sabah covered all its news compatible with their newspaper’s composition and balance. Except the humanitarian and foreign news agency cited issues it is generally seen that two newspapers set news agendas according to their political views. Cumhuriyet and Sabah news coverage are almost same regarding the reference factor in news from elite nations, people or institutions. Cumhuriyet covered more news including bad events according to Sabah. In comparison of negative events generally, newspapers do not have political bias in the same subjects. In an overall assessment of the two newspapers, both have the ideological bias according to their news content which is effective on shaping the public perception.

Justice and Development Party (AKP / ruling party) votes doubles Republic People Party (CHP / main opposition party) votes in 2011 elections, however Sabah’s daily sales average (November 2013) is almost six times bigger than Cumhuriyet. A research on the readers of the newspapers might give hints about the correlations regarding the effects of dominant ideology.

Government’s Syria policy is heavily criticized by the opposition parties concerning the given support to Syrian opposition. This criticism is felt acquiescently in the contexts of the related news; nevertheless it is hidden in the other unconnected news. A discourse analysis of Syria news in the related newspapers should be made in order to clarify the subject.

News sources of the Syria news in the newspapers are commonly originated from dominant international news agencies. Turkey’s dependence of foreign news, specifically news on neighboring country, might be searched for determining the effect on the public perception. Consequently, “imbalance of news flow” regarding the Turkey’s neighboring countries appears as a future research topic.

Finally, in analyzing the news content, ideological opinion of the newspaper should be considered primarily. Media texts which were implemented through the reproduction of the dominant ideology will be terminated by the derivation of conscious literacy.

Acknowledgements

The author(s) declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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About this article

Published online: 30.08.2014
Pages: 337-353
Publisher: Future Academy
In: Volume 10, Issue 3
DOI: 10.15405/ejsbs.136
Online ISSN: 2301-2218
Article Type: Original Research
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