Framing the News and Communicating Alternative Facts: A Cross-Cultural Study of the American Media’s Representation of Security and Governance in Nigeria and Russia
The media across the globe has rapidly assumed the status of a soothsayer. In various aspects of national and international governance, the masses largely depend on the media as a voice that highlights the objective truth which corruption and bureaucracy seeks to cover up. The common consensus amongst many today is that reality is a fixed concept and that this unalterable state of things is what the media must pass across with utmost sincerity.
Two main terms are of striking value to the core essence of this study: ‘framing’ and ‘alternative facts’. These terms help prove in this research work that reality is not fixed and objectivity is a farce. On the one hand, the term framing gives us greater insight into how a news story is constructed so that priority is granted to the editor or writer’s truth, and true core of the story becomes a subject to their intentions. Alternative facts, in a similar fashion, probes into how the media uses one truth to sideline another in a race to make their proposed reality the accepted reality – to influence how a particular problem is discussed or viewed. In other words, both terms, in the context of this research, reveal the subjective nature of reality or truth as far as the media is concerned, and how this affects the perception of the readers. This research reveals how the frame which appears to beautify a picture hides its edges.
To a greater depth, this paper analyzes how framing and alternative facts as a tool of the media, turns them into a tool in the hand of warring world powers in a race for supremacy. Ultimately, this paper highlights how the media’s creative truth and framed reality creates the cultural perception of other nations in a way that gives strength to an opinion ably influenced by the position of their government.
As a reference case, the paper features a comparison of the real security situation in Nigeria and political intent of the government in Russia with the ‘reality’ presented in the American media.
In conclusion, this paper unearths the practice of fact-distortion as a fast-growing ethically condoned media practice and its menaces to cultural integrity.