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Media Outlets Have A Choice – Why Do So Few Choose Peace Journalism?

Media Outlets Have A Choice – Why Do So Few Choose Peace Journalism?


In a survey of the 100 largest newspapers in the US, not a single editorial board opposed the recent airstrikes on Syria. Of the top ten papers, seven openly supported the airstrikes. The professional and ethical standards of Peace Journalism provide a clear path toward better reporting and a more informed audience.

In the Media:

“A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war…Seven of the top 10 newspapers by circulation—USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and Washington Post—supported the airstrikes. The New York Daily News and San Jose Mercury News offered no opinion, while the New York Times (4/13/18) was ambiguous—mostly lamenting the lack of congressional approval, but not saying that this meant the strikes were illegal or unwise. “Legislation should…set limits on a president’s ability to wage war against states like Syria,” is the Times’ conclusion. A complete list of editorials on the airstrikes can be viewed here.”

Most editorials spoke in the same tone claiming “the West stands up”, or demanding “action” be taken and “international norms” be “enforced.”

Insight from Peace Science:

  • Peace Journalism has been shown to have specific effects on individuals and whole societies, demonstrating the widespread impact of journalistic methods and ethics and the conscious choice available to news outlets.
  • Audiences exposed to Peace Journalism have been found to demonstrate the following:
    • Increased conflict sensitivity
    • Lower likelihood to view conflicts in polarized good vs. bad, black/ white, terms
    • Increased levels of hope and empathy
    • Decreased levels of anger and fear
  • Peace journalism must adapt coverage to the stages of conflict in order to be relevant.
  • Peace journalism can have long-term effects through consistent peace framing.
  • Peace journalists need to avoid discrediting themselves by being drawn into the conflict, taking positions, or propagating conflict strategies.


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