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Ideological immunity in the German media coverage of domestic terrorism

By Jörg D. Bendt.


Influenced by the uncovering of the National Socialist Underground in Germany, in this paper I employ a framing analysis in order explore whether the ideology of terrorist(s) makes a difference in how they are portrayed in the German media. Taking into account two media models, the Democratic Corporate model of Hallin and Mancini and the propaganda model of Herman and Chomsky, as well as critical terrorism studies, the first two weeks of coverage from Der Spiegel and Die Zeit of the kidnapping of Hanns-Martin Schleyer by the Red Army Faction in 1977 and the discovery of the National Socialist Underground in 2011 are submitted to a framing analysis. The similarity in the framing of both events by each newspaper taken independently and the minimal difference in framing between the two news outlets found in the analysis then provides the basis to argue for a synthesis of both the Democratic Corporate model and the propaganda model.
The free democratic basic order of Germany as prescribed in the German constitution acts as a unifying force bridging the gap between different news outlets and there respective political partisanship.

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