Date of Degree

9-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Political Science

Advisor

Susan Woodward

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | International Relations

Keywords

Uyghur, Orientalism, Propaganda, Media

Abstract

This study examines the convergence of US state media and US-based mass media in news coverage of China’s policies in Xinjiang. Analysis of a sample of articles published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and CNN between 2014 and 2021 found that stories citing US state media, Uyghur exile advocacy groups, or non-government organizations receiving US funding were significantly more negative in tone than articles using other sources. Articles citing state media and exile advocacy groups tended to frame China’s policies as an ideological challenge while other articles were more likely to frame these policies as a security issue. The effect of US state media on article tone was only observed after the US shifted toward a confrontational stance against China during Donald Trump’s presidency. This study contributes to existing scholarship by bridging literature on the interaction of US state media and Orientalist knowledge production and research on news media’s function as propaganda. Within examined news publications, Western authors largely presumed that the West possesses an exclusive enunciative capacity to produce knowledge about Xinjiang. This study concludes that, as was the case in previous iterations of Orientalism, the West continues to claim an exclusive right to produce knowledge about China, often without externally validating its own evidence or entertaining contradictory information from the Orient.

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