CONSTRUCTING A POLITICAL SPECTACLE: American and Indonesian Media Accounts of the “Crisis in the Gulf”

Arie Setiabudi Soesilo, Philo C. Wasburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Murray Edelman (1988) argued that media accounts evoke a spectacle that is a construction — an interpretation reflecting the social situations of the agents that produced it. Events take on meanings that perpetuate political roles, statuses and ideologies. Examining this perspective, this study compares the accounts of the “Crisis in the Gulf” constructed by a leading American newspaper, The New York Times, and a leading Indonesian newspaper, Kompas. The research bears on two related questions. First, is the account of this political event offered by each of these newspapers better understood as a symbolic representation of political reality or as a symbolic construct reflecting and serving political, economic and ideological interests? Second, do the accounts offered by the two newspapers differ in this regard?The New York Times operates within the context of a “free press” system while Kompas operates as a “developmental press.” Comparison suggests whether formal media system norms affect media news content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-381
Number of pages15
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1994


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