Neither a Friend. Not a Foe:
Donald Trump in the Russian Media


Kazun A.D.,

Junior Researcher, Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology; Lecturer, Department of Economic Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, adkazun@hse.ru

elibrary_id: 822971 | ORCID: 0000-0002-9633-2776 |

Kazun A.P.,

Researcher, International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development, Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Economics, National Research University Higher School of Economics, kazun.anton@gmail.com

elibrary_id: 749056 |


DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.01.07
For citation:

Kazun A.D., Kazun A.P. Neither a Friend. Not a Foe: Donald Trump in the Russian Media. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 1. P. 90-104. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2019.01.07



Abstract

This article provides the first systematic analysis of the Russian media coverage of Trump’s activities during the electoral campaign and within first seven months of his presidential term. We conduct a quantitative analysis of the publications about Donald Trump in 500 Russian magazines and 250 largest federal newspapers. The database “Medialogy” served as a source of data for sentiment analysis of news reports about the American president. On its basis, the conclusion is drawn that the image of Trump was not unambiguously positive, as some foreign studies have claimed. Based on the theory of the network agenda setting we analyzed the context in which Donald Trump was mentioned one month before the election, a month after the elections and in June 2017, just before his meeting with Vladimir Putin. Based on the analysis of network agendas in the Russian federal press, it can be concluded that Trump was portrayed by the Russian media not as Russia’s favorite candidate for president, but as Hillary Clinton’s opponent and a critic of U.S. recent policies. In this context, its likely loss would allow the Russian media to strengthen the negative impression of Russians from U.S. elections. However, after the election results were announced, the Russian media changed tactics and began to write about Trump as a friend of Russia, since there was hope that the new president would lift political and economic sanctions. Trump’s policy has not lived up to the expectations of Russians and since the beginning of 2017 publications about him were mostly negative. Finally, Trump’s positive image collapsed after the start of U.S. military operations in Syria and the imposition of new sanctions against Russia. 

Keywords
media, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, U.S. presidential election, public opinion, network agenda.


References

Aaldering L., Vliegenthart R. 2016. Political Leaders and the Media. Can We Measure Political Leadership Images in Newspapers Using Computer-Assisted Content Analysis? – Quality & Quantity. Vol. 50. No. 5. P. 1871-1905. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11135-015-0242-9

Balmas M., Sheafer T. 2013. Leaders First, Countries After: Mediated Political Personalization in the International Arena. – Journal of Communication. Vol. 63. No. 3. P. 454-475. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12027

Bean C. 1993. The Electoral Influence of Party Leader Images in Australia and New Zealand. – Comparative Political Studies. Vol. 26. No. 1. P. 111-132. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010414093026001005

Blondheim M., Segev E., Cabrera M.-A. 2015. The Prominence of Weak Economies: Factors and Trends in Global News Coverage of Economic Crisis, 2009-2012. – International Journal of Communication. No. 9. Р. 46-65.

Chang T.-K., Shoemaker P.J., Brendlinger N. 1987. Determinants of International News Coverage in the U.S. Media. – Communication Research. Vol 14. No. 4. P. 396-414. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365087014004002

Entman R.M. 2008. Theorizing Mediated Public Diplomacy: The U.S. Case. – The International Journal of Press/Politics. Vol. 13. No. 2. P. 87-102. https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161208314657

Gehlbach S. 2010. Reflections on Putin and the Media. – Post-Soviet Affairs. Vol. 26. No. 1. P. 77-87. https://doi.org/10.2747/1060-586X.26.1.77

Gerber T. 2015. Foreign Policy and the United States in Russian Public Opinion. – Problems of Post-Communism. Vol. 62. No. 2. P. 98-111. https://doi.org/10.1080/10758216.2015.1010909

Guo L. 2012. The Application of Social Network Analysis in Agenda Setting Research: A Methodological Exploration. – Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Vol. 56. No. 4. P. 616-631. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2012.732148

Guo L., Chen Y.-N., Vu H., Wang Q., Aksamit R., Guzek D., McCombs M. 2015. Coverage of the Iraq War in the United States, Mainland China, Taiwan and Poland. – Journalism Studies. Vol. 16. No. 3. P. 343-362. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2014.885198

Guo L., Vargo C. 2015. The Power of Message Networks: A Big-Data Analysis of the Network Agenda Setting Model and Issue Ownership. – Mass Communication and Society. Vol. 18. No. 5. P. 557-576. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2015.1045300

Hart R. 2017. The People’s Voice During the 2016 Presidential Campaign. – American Behavioral Scientist. Vol. 61. No. 6. P. 566-583. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217707622

Horvit B., Gade P., Lance E. 2013. News Wire Greatest Predictor of Papers’ International News. – Newspaper Research Journal. Vol. 34. No. 1. P. 89-103. https://doi.org/10.1177/073953291303400108

Kazun A.D., Kazun A.P. 2017. Coverage of Three Tragedies in the Russian Media: Application of the Network Agenda Model. – NRU Higher School of Economics. Series PS “Political Science”. No. WP BRP 48/PS/2017. 26 р. URL: https://wp.hse.ru/data/2017/08/11/1174375941/48PS2017.pdf (accessed 25.09.2018).

Kiousis S., Kim J., Ragas M., Wheat G., Kochhar S., Svensson E., Miles M. 2015. Exploring New Frontiers of Agenda Building During the 2012 US Presidential Election Pre-Convention Period. – Journalism Studies. Vol. 16. No. 3. P. 363-382. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2014.906930

Lawrence R., Boydstun A. 2017. What We Should Really Be Asking About Media Attention to Trump. – Political Communication. Vol. 34. No. 1. P. 150-153. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2016.1262700

Lee S. 2007. International Public Relations as a Predictor of Prominence of US News Coverage. – Public Relations Review. Vol. 33. No. 2. P. 158-165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2007.02.002

McCombs M. 2014. Setting the Agenda: Mass Media and Public Opinion. John Wiley & Sons. 208 р.

McCombs M., Graber D., Weaver D. 1981. Media Agenda-Setting in the Presidential Election. N.Y.: Praeger Scientific. 227 р.

McCombs M., Shaw D., Weaver D. 2014. New Directions in Agenda-Setting Theory and Research. – Mass Communication and Society. Vol. 17. No. 6. P. 781-802. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2014.964871

McGregor S., Mourao R. 2017. Second Screening Donald Trump: Conditional Indirect Effects on Political Participation. – Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Vol. 61. No. 2. P. 264-290. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2017.1309418

McManus J. 1994. Market-Driven Journalism: Let the Citizen Beware? CA: Sage Publications. 260 р.

Rosengren K. 1974. International News: Methods, Data and Theory. – Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 11. No. 2. P. 145-156.

Segev E. 2015. Visible and Invisible Countries: News Flow Theory Revised. – Journalism. Vol. 16. No. 3. P. 412-428. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884914521579

Sheafer T. 2001. Charismatic Skill and Media Legitimacy: An Actor-Centered Approach to Understanding the Political Communication Competition. – Communication Research. Vol. 28. No. 6. P. 711-736. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365001028006001

Shenhav S., Rahat G., Sheafer T. 2012. Testing the Language–Power Assumption of Critical Discourse Analysis: The Case of Israel’s Legislative Discourse. – Canadian Journal of Political Science. Vol. 45. No. 1. P. 207-222. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008423911000965

Shoemaker P., Danielian L., Brendlinger N. 1991. Deviant Acts, Risky Business and U.S. Interests: The Newsworthiness of World Events. – Journalism Quarterly. Vol. 68. No. 4. P. 781-795.

Slutsky P., Gavra D. 2017. The Phenomenon of Trump’s Popularity in Russia: Media Analysis Perspective. – American Behavioral Scientist. Vol. 61. No. 3. P. 334-344. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217693281

Van Aelst P., Sheafer T., Stanyer J. 2012. The Personalization of Mediated Political Communication: A Review of Concepts, Operationalizations and Key Findings. – Journalism. Vol. 13. No. 2. P. 203-220. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884911427802

Vu H., Guo L., McCombs M. 2014. Exploring ‘the World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads’: A Network Agenda-Setting Study. – Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Vol. 91. No. 4. P. 669-686. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699014550090

Waismel-Manor I., Tsfati Y. 2011. Why Do Better-Looking Members of Congress Receive More Television Coverage? – Political Communication. Vol. 28. No. 4. P. 440-463. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2011.617719

Wu H.D. 2007. A Brave New World for International News? Exploring the Determinants of the Coverage of Foreign News on US Websites. – International Communication Gazette. Vol. 69. No. 6. P. 539-551.


Arbatov A.G., Arbatova N.K. 2017. Trump Factor in Russia – US Relations. – Polis. Political Studies. No. 3. P. 160-178. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.03.11

Chernenko Y.A. 2017. Political Storytelling in the Context of the New Media Ecology. – Scientific Journal Mediaalmanah. No. 2. P. 12-19. (In Russ.)

D’yakova E.G. 2003. Mass Political Communication in the Agenda-Setting Theory: from Effect to Process. – Polis. Political Studies. No. 3. P. 109-119. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2003.03.11

Kazun A.D. 2017. Where Does Agenda Come from? The Role of the Media in Setting the Importance of Events. – The Russian Public Opinion Herald. Data. Analysis. Discussions. Vol. 124. No. 1-2. P. 182-189. (In Russ.)

Solovei V.D. 2017. Digital Mythology and Donald Trump Electoral Campaign. – Polis. Political Studies. No 5. P. 122-132. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.05.09 

Content No. 1, 2019

See also:


Simonia N.A.,
Results of Presidential Elections in the United States and New Prospects for Formation of Multipolar World Order. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No2

Solovey V.D.,
Digital Mythology and Donald Trump Electoral Campaign. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No5

Bezvikonnaya Ye.V.,
Systemico-Synergetic Model of a Political System. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No3

Bernays E.L.,
Manipulating public opinion: the why and the how. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No4

Klimova S.G., Yakusheva T.V.,
Politicians’ Images in Russians’ Accounts. – Polis. Political Studies. 2000. No6

 
 

Archive

   2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991