The Press & Pressure: A critical discourse analysis of the promotion of "Responsibility to Protect" or "Sovereignty" narratives in the on-going Syrian crisis

The popular concept that journalism is a moderating check on an aggressive state – one that operates in a world dictated by Realism’s demands for power and survival – is solace both for society and individual journalists who believe in the peaceful calling of the profession and the power of the Fourth Estate. But what happens when data and a discursive analysis of news organizations indicates that rather than favoring diplomatic solutions and peaceful resolutions, journalism is both fueling the flames of fear and fostering aggressive military postures that may favor confrontational nationalist rather that peaceful internationalist outcomes? This paper analyzes news and opinion production in both the Chinese and American press to conclude that in the case of the on-going conflict in Syria, the states themselves, while in conflict on the promotion of policies that reflect either the “Responsibility to Protect” (United States) or that of “Sovereignty” (China), are more aligned with diplomatic resolution than the press.

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