Bad News: The Changing Coverage of National Leaders in Foreign Media of Western Democracies

Meital Balmas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This is a study on international news flow based on a computerized analysis of foreign news coverage of national leaders in seven liberal democracies (Canada, Germany, France, Israel, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S.), encompassing a period of 30 years (N = 266,177). The results attest to a longitudinal trend in the coverage of foreign leaders in the political media of three countries—Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.: the tone is becoming increasingly negative. Two main factors account for these variations. The first is the level of political personalization in foreign coverage: Greater focus on foreign leaders is positively associated with increasing negativity toward these leaders. The second factor relates to proximity between countries: Negativity was found to be inversely and significantly associated with value and geographic proximity and to be inversely associated, with marginal significance, with political and economic proximity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)663-685
Number of pages23
JournalMass Communication and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.


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