The Bias of Provocation Narratives in International News

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This paper explores how provocation narratives introduce political bias in international news. It is based on a two-step methodology. First, a network analysis of country co-mentions in American, British, French, and German news corpus shows that core countries (e.g., the United States) and their opponents (e.g., North Korea, Russia, Iran) are the most frequently cited in provocation narratives. Focusing on the case where provocation narratives are the most prominent, the Korean conflict, we then employ a quantitative content analysis to identify the relationships between the countries involved in news stories using provocation narratives, and the role played by the provocation in those news stories. Our findings show that bias is introduced in many instances where journalists, while repeatedly identifying one country, North Korea, as the provocateur, omit key information such as the reasons behind North Korea’s provocations or the identity of the provoked country. This indicates that provocation narratives adopt the core countries’ geopolitical views and portray their enemies as a global threat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-332
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • country prominence
  • cross-national comparison
  • international news
  • narrative
  • network analysis
  • provocation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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