Why Do (We Think) They Hate Us: Anti-Americanism, Patriotic Messages, and Attributions of Blame

Jason Gilmore, Lindsey Meeks, David Domke


This study explores how news coverage about anti-American sentiment interacts with U.S. adults’ sense of national identity and affects their understandings and interpretations of such negative attitudes. We build on scholarship on patriotism and social identity to conduct an experiment in which participants read one of two news stories focused on anti-American impressions. The findings suggest that news content influences both (a) how Americans interpret anti-American sentiment in general and (b) how Americans draw upon their identification with the nation in formulating attributions of blame for such sentiments and in deciding on what foreign policies to support.

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