US Reputation. (III) The impact of some ugly brands: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Madoff, Jared Loughner

US Reputation and Wikileaks. (III) The Impact of ugly brands

US Reputation and Wikileaks. (II) The Impact of Top American Brands

US Reputation and Wikileaks. (I) US Vs Spain Media Reputation

(last update: Jared Lee Loughner media reputation analysis)

We countinue our series of posts oriented to show the impact of Wikileaks on the reputation and image of the United States. In our first post we showed the media reputation position of the United States by comparison with Spain. In the secong post we presented the positive impact that top American brands create in enhancing its overall reputation.

Now we show in this third post the media profile of issues and persons that are perceived as strongly linked to the US and that we assume that the vast majority of people consider that are associated to really bad image. As in our precedent post, we do not show results concerning all news about the brands to be presented, but we select only those that establish a direct reference to the United States in the body of the article. Even if the brands that we have selected are probably associated by many to the US, we concentrate the analysis really only to those news associating both the brand and the United States. As in all our precedent posts, we will not discuss about the political issues and their implications, but just to show how they are portrayed by the media and how it does affect US reputation.

First example is Abu Ghraib. Even if the term refers to a city in Iraq, all international news refer to the scandal of prisoners abuse and torture.

It is self evident that the positive brand vectors presented in the precedent post, like Excellence, Impressive, Acclaimed, are not relevant here. This is why we concentrate our analysis directly to the brand vectors that refer to bad reputation. The fist one is “Scandal”, and empirical results are shown in the next figure. The Abu Ghraib case clearly affects negatively the US reputation, as it is strongly related to the “Scandal” vector, much higer than globa US media reputation. The components more sensitive are “scandalous”, “harm” and “corruption”.

The second brand vector associated to bad image is “Tragedy”. Here also, Abu Ghraib penalises US reputation, as it increases the association with “tragedy”, “harm” and “failure”.

We show finally a third brand vector that should be considered in principle refelcting positive reputation. It refers to “Respected, Coherent”. Our results here and in the analysis of other brands and events show that this brand vector can reflect both good and bad reputation associated to respect and coherence. The interpretation is that in this case our analysis show which issues are strongly associated to these two brand vectors. In order to identify if this association is positive or negative, a direct analysis to the content of the news is required.

The Abu Ghraib case clearly reflects that this is also an issue in terms of affecting the reputation of the US in terms of respect and coherence. The lecture here is clearly negative, and not positive. Abu Ghraib is strongly related with this area, specially referring to “dignity”, “ethical”, “compassion” ,”fairnes” and “respected”.

The second brand that we have selected and that is expected to exert a negative impact on US reputation is Guantanamo. Guantanamo is a Cuban municipality and a province. But its media coverage comes from hosting a US Naval base. More specifically, after the conclusion of the Afghanistan and Iraq war, it contains the detention camp. As not being inside US legal jurisdiction, George Bush administration sent captives to this camp under a detention regime without the Geneva Convention rights and protections. Treatment to prisioners in Guantanamo has originated controversies and critics to the United States. Barack Obama signed an order by January 2009 with the proposal to shut down the facility within a year.

Guantanamo can be considered as a “brand” with a clear negative media reputation. Like in the toher cases, we show now the empirical results, but only about news where there is also an explicit mention to the United States.

Our results clearly confirm that currently Guantanamo is associated strongly to the brand vectors about “Scandal” and “Tragedy”. Guantanamo harms US media reputation in basically all negative brand components.

As we have already presented two brands negatively affecting US reputation, we can compare their specific profile. We show as example the brand association of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib to the vector “Tragedy”. Both brand refer to special prisons, with shocking cases of abuses in the Abu Ghraib case. The results suggest that media perceive Abu Ghraib as closer to components tragedy and harm than Guantanamo, while Guantanamo prevail in the component failure.

The third brand selected as supposed to be attached to negative perceptions is an individual one. It refers to Bernard Madoff, the American stock broker, who pleaded guilty for the investment scandal based in a Ponzi scheme.

Results confirm that Madoff case punishes US reputation, two years after the case emerged publicly. Concerning the “Scandal” profile, Madoff’s assoiation is specially high for the components scandal, corruption, and also harm and embarrassing.

The impact of the Madoff case on the “Tragedy” vector affects negatively American reputation mainly in the components failure and worst.

As before, we compare the reputation profile of two brands with a negative media perception. We compare now the media profile of Madoff against news about Abu Ghraib, an individual against a non personal brand. We have selected the “Tragedy” profile. According to our results, they present a diverse profile, even if in both cases it was worst than the one concerning all news about the United States. Madoff is portrayed as more associated to catastrophic, failure and worst than Abu Ghraib. The Iraqi prison is stronger associated to tragedy, horrible and harm. Both brands produce a clear negative effect on US media reputation, but each one has its own brand profile.

The last example of brands with expected bad reputation is again a personal brand. We have chosen the profile of the media coverage about Jaerd lee Loughner. Loughner has been charged for killing six people, in what has been called the Tucson shooting. He also critically wounded Democrat Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was apparently the main target of the assassin. Shooting took place in January 8, 2011. Massive media coverage followed, at national and international level. Our measure about the media reputation of Jared Loungher refers to February media coverage. Remember once again that we analyse here not all news about Jared Loughner, but only those where there is also an explicit mention to the United States.

Results indicate that one month after the shooting took place, the content of all news related to the shooter were still highly associated to the brand vector “Scandal”. This association is prominent in all components of this brand vector.

As for the brand vector “Tragedy”, the level of association is specially high concerning the components tragedy, harm and horrible.

We have shown before another personal brand with bad media reputation, Bernard Madoff. We comapre in our last figure his media reputation profile against Loughner, concerning the “Scandal” profile. Both persons are marked clearly with this bad reputation, but the origin of it comes from very different delictive areas. Our results show that Loughner case is by far more shocking for the media in terms of association to scandal. The only exception is corruption, which is linked to Madoff but not to Loughner. This last result is again a proof of the practical coherence of the results generated using the media reputation approach proposed by MRI Universidad de Navarra.

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