Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
Zollmann’s book takes a critical look and re-examination of mass media coverage of the political debate on military intervention by the West. The logic of the book follows the contours of the filters proposed by Herman and Chomsky. In addition to the choices of national media systems and types of mass media product, Zollmann discusses six particular events (pp. 56-60). The logic of choosing these particular cases is that the first three incidents represent cases occurring in ‘enemy’ states (former Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria), the other three are from ‘friendly’ or client states of the West. Should mass media be politically independent, then the quality and style of the reporting of these incidents should be similar. Zollmann identifies a number of significant findings of his research, one of these being ‘the relative similarity in terms of the quantitative provision of indignation and the use of similar keywords to frame the studies incidents’ (p. 211). Thus the different media outlets studied, in spite of their differences in terms of country and brand position, did demonstrate ideological alignment on the reporting of the six examined cases. A second finding identified was the media coverage tended to reflect the specific interests of the national elite (p. 211). This finding fits with Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model that formed the basis of the lens with which to make sense of the media content. A third, interesting finding of the book is that the European media tended to be more adversarial than their counterparts in the United States (p. 212). The significant difference in reporting the between the ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ victims validates Zollmann’s method and approach.