CNN vs. RT: Comparative Analysis of Media Coverage of a Malaysian Airlines Aircraft MH17 Shooting Down within the Framework of Propaganda

University essay from Stockholms universitet/JMK


To explore strategic narratives of the U.S. and Russia is a motivation for this research. The study investigates whether there is a return to the Cold War rhetoric between the West and Russia, or if the discourse has taken a new form. A primary goal is to examine if media originating from the two countries spread propaganda, but mainly to detect what kind of propaganda it is.

The research compares types of propaganda techniques that are most commonly applied by RT and CNN, and discusses results in a context of the Cold War propaganda prominent themes. This has been done by comparing how the two media outlets were reporting on a crash of a Malaysian Airlines aircraft in eastern Ukraine on July 17th 2014. A method of a framing analysis has been applied for a material from both channels for a period of four months. The results indicate that a number of propaganda techniques are used by both RT and CNN. Moreover, channels’ discourse is antagonistic, while strategic narratives of the U.S. and Russia nowadays have similarities and differences comparing to the Cold War times. Further research should look at other genres, events and topics reported by the two media.

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