Pride and Prejudice: A Five-Nation Comparative Study of Television News Coverage of the Olympics

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Hayashi, Kaori ; Curran, James P. ; Kwak, Sunyoung ; Esser, Frank ; Daniel C., Hallin ; Chin-Chuan, Lee (2015)
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis

The Olympic Games are one of the most popular global mega-media events. However, the ways in which the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London were reported varied significantly from one country to another. In order to compare how different countries represented this event, we conducted a qualitative discourse analysis of three days of television news coverage from 10 channels in five countries: the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We explored whether different locations, political systems, and television systems affect how the same event is reported. We found that while European public service broadcasters (BBC and ARD) were more serious, critical, and political than their commercial counterparts (ITV and RTL), the Japanese commercial broadcaster’s coverage of the event was more critical than that of the public service broadcaster, which was popularized and nationalistic throughout. In China, the more market-oriented Dragon TV was more evaluative in its reporting than the state-run CCTV. NBC, which monopolized the broadcast rights in the United States, emphasized the universal values of the Olympics and avoided nationalism. In light of our results, future attention should be directed toward the role of commercial broadcasting in a contemporary globalized world in which ideological constellations are changing.
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