Rhetoric Vs. Reality: How U.S. Media Depicts Refugees In Sweden And Its Implications For U.S. Policy

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emma R. Labovitz (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Renee Scherlen

Abstract: This research project seeks to gain a better understanding of the U.S. media’s depiction of the recent increase of refugees into Sweden and how the media’s portrayal of these events has affected U.S. policy. To understand what happened in Sweden, this paper includes a qualitative analysis conducted in Sweden during January of 2018 to assess the current public opinion about refugees there. The results of these interviews were then compared to U.S. news sources to see how accurately the U.S. media depicted the events in Sweden. The rhetoric of the U.S. newspapers was understood through a word frequency count based on articles from the last four years. Understanding the framing and frequency of these articles is necessary to understand what kind of impact, if any, the coverage of this issue could have on U.S. policy. By understanding how media discusses the events in Sweden, this paper then uses the Policy-Media Interaction Model to understand the broader implications that media has on reshaping policy. The results of this study showed that U.S. media’s coverage of immigration in Sweden is both alarmist and inaccurate. Coverage simply did not focus on the issues that Swedes identified as important, but rather concentrated primarily on the challenges that have resulted from immigration. However, while the coverage of this issue was overwhelmingly negative, the coverage lacked the depth and consistency needed to strongly and negatively impact policy. While the potential impact this coverage could have on policy is low, there are several instances where the media could adversely affect refugee immigration policy in the U.S.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Labovitz, E. (2018). "Rhetoric Vs. Reality: How U.S. Media Depicts Refugees In Sweden And Its Implications For U.S. Policy." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
Media Framing, Immigration, Sweden, Refugees, Policy

Email this document to