The Sphere of Consensus in a Polarized Media System: The Case of Turkey During the Catastrophic Coup Attempt

Emre Iseri, Eser Şekercioglu, Ugur Cevdet Panayirci


How does a highly polarized media system respond to a catastrophic event? The July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey provides fertile ground to examine how a catastrophic event has shaped the editorial policies of news media outlets in a highly polarized media system. This article hypothesizes that, mainly due to the peculiarities of the Turkish media system, even at the time of a catastrophic event, the framing strategies of media outlets converge only to a limited degree on a sphere of consensus. Adopting a content analysis methodology, we analyze the framing strategies of four national newspapers affiliated with specific sociopolitical camps (the pro-government Sabah, the moderate Hürriyet, and the oppositional Sözcü and Cumhuriyet). We reach the counterintuitive conclusion that these news outlets used different framing strategies in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt and that the gap between them widened over the period of analysis.


political communication, framing, content analysis, media systems, authoritarian regimes, catastrophic event, Turkey

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