Valuing Victims: A Comparative Framing Analysis of The Washington Post’s Coverage of Violent Attacks Against Muslims and Non-Muslims
This study examines The Washington Post’s framing of five terrorist attacks taking place in four countries—Turkey, France, Nigeria and Belgium—during a five-month period in 2015 and 2016. Attacks in Turkey and Nigeria were perpetrated against mostly Muslim victims, while France and Belgium attacks were carried out against mostly non-Muslims. Results suggest meaningful differences between the way The Post framed attacks against Western European targets, on the one hand, and attacks against Muslim-majority communities, on the other. In covering attacks on France and Belgium, The Post used “terrorism frames” to structure coverage while consistently humanizing victims and drawing links between European societies and the Western world more generally. Attacks against Turkey and Nigeria were covered less prominently and were primarily framed as internal conflicts.