How combining terrorism, Muslim, and refugee topics drives emotional tone in online news: A six-country cross-cultural sentiment analysis

Chan, Chung-hong ; Wessler, Hartmut ; Rinke, Eike Mark ; Welbers, Kasper ; Atteveldt, Wouter van ; Althaus, Scott

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-568579
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2020
The title of a journal, publication series: International Journal of Communication : IJoC
Volume: 14
Page range: 3569-3594
Place of publication: Los Angeles, Calif.
Publishing house: The Annenberg Center for Communication
ISSN: 1932-8036
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Mannheim Centre for European Social Research - Research Department B
School of Humanities > Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (Wessler 2007-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Subject: 320 Political science
Abstract: This study looks into how the combination of Islam, refugees, and terrorism topics leads to text-internal changes in the emotional tone of news articles and how these vary across countries and media outlets. Using a multilingual human-validated sentiment analysis, we compare fear and pity in more than 560,000 articles from the most important online news sources in six countries (U.S., Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, and Lebanon). We observe that fear and pity work antagonistically—that is, the more articles in a particular topical category contain fear, the less pity they will feature. The coverage of refugees without mentioning terrorists and Muslims/Islam featured the lowest fear and highest pity levels of all topical categories studied here. However, when refugees were covered in combination with terrorism and/or Islam, fear increased and pity decreased in Christian-majority countries, whereas no such pattern appeared in Muslim-majority countries (Lebanon, Turkey). Variations in emotions are generally driven more by country-level differences than by the political alignment of individual outlets.
Additional information: Online-Ressource

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