Who Is Julian Assange? Check First Where You Read The News (I)

In this post we show how is the media profile of Julian Assange, the founder, spokesman of Wikileaks organization. Instead of showing the overall media profile based on news coming from all countries, we propose an analysis based in local media perceptions of the same person in three countries directly affected by Wikileaks and its founder: media from United States, the country whose Government has suffered the massive leak of confidential cables; United Kingdom, affected as Julian Assange resided in this country when an European arrest warrant was received and executed; and finally press from Australia, Assange’s home country.

In the following graphs we show the importance given in local media coverage to a number of issues always explicitly identified in news directly related to Julian Assange. In each case, any given value shown is a relative value, and reflects how important is a specific issue in quantitative terms, in comparison with a representative set of issues.

Total value allows us to identify how important a single issue is in terms of presence in the storyline of all Julian Assange’s news. The comparison bteween the three countries indicates us the internal structure of the news discourse in each country producing Julian Assange’s media profile.

As we could expect, our results show notorious differences on how media from United States, United Kingdom and Australia depicts the profile and role of Julian Assange. Of course, some of the results reflect more the treatment that local media give to Wikileaks cables, more than centering the news content to Assange, but in some cases the issues presented clearly point out directly to judgding or profiling Julian Assange.

As we have explained in precedent posts, the mission that we have assumed is mailiny to provide raw empirical material to interested readers, rather than proposing ourselves a political or media content analysis of the results. As before, we will limit our comments to the results to the minimum.

Many of the results shown in the graphs are clearly in line with basic political and media impact hypothesis and intuitions. As we have pointed out many times in our studies at MRI Universidad de Navarra, this does not make our results superfluous or irrelevant: theay are by contrast confirming us that the analytical tool that we propose reaches the objective to be able to provide intellgence to the myriad of press articles published about Wikileaks crisis and to any other issues with relevant media impact. If we confirm some self-evident and expected results, it also reassures us that when we identify and observe some other results less intuitive, they could also be consituted of internal logic and reflect actual attitudes and preferences.

Concerning positive and negative personal attributes referring to Julian Assange, the results are quite conclusive: there are no positive articles in newspapers in United States, and they insist in negative perceptions (cheater, treasonous). Positive attitude is higher in home country media Australia than in Britain.

Issues related with legal investigation and prosecution to Assange are dominant in United Kingdom, whose judiciary system shall take a decision concerning the allegations on sexual violence in Sweden. US media insists specially on imprisonement, but it refers probably more to the will to see Julian Assange in prison in the USA not because the sex affaire, but because considering the publication of US Department of State cables as delictive.

Some other issued clustered in the following graph seem to refer to Julian Assange activities and Wikileaks assesment. US media insist  more in how these revelations are illegal and unethical. British media are focused on the controversial profile of the story, probably mixed also with all the legal debates.

Issues presented in the last graph seems to refer to the evaluation of how US diplomacy activity and repuation is affected by the secret cables published. Quite surprisingly for us, is the media in Britain and Australia that discuss all these issues in a substantial higher extension than the US media. It is clearly the case for some highly sensitive points like “Trust”, “Exposed”, “Awareness” or “Scandal”. Only “Concern” is a salient issue in terms of coverage by US media.

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