Talking With the 'Hermit Regime'| Is Mr. Kim a “Nuclear Madman” or a “Reasonable Leader”? Media Framing of Kim Jong-un’s Images in South Korean and U.S. Newspapers

Na Yeon Lee, Kanghui Baek, Sun Ho Jeong


By content analyzing 2,045 news articles with images of Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, published in South Korean and U.S. newspapers, this study found that since 2012, the images have been framed more negatively than positively in both countries. When it comes to topics, South Korean newspapers covered Kim Jong-un’s image more frequently in terms of personality, lifestyle, and domestic politics of North Korea, while U.S. newspapers covered his image more frequently relative to foreign policy. South Korean conservative newspapers were more negative in tone than liberal newspapers in their portrayals, focusing more on topics of his lifestyle, infringement of human rights, and nuclear weapons. However, after the politically liberal Moon administration in South Korea came to power in 2017, news articles about Kim Jong-un in South Korea’s conservative newspapers have become significantly more positive.


Kim Jong-un’s image, media framing, foreign policy, political affiliation of news organization

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