Abu Ghraib e l’amministrazione americana: un’analisi delle strategie di gestione del discredito = The Abu Ghraib case and the American administration: an analysis of coping strategies to deal with discredit


The Abu Ghraib case and the American administration: an analysis of coping strategies to deal with discredit. The topic of this paper is the sociological dynamics of discredit, which followed the abuse scandal in Abu Ghraib prison. We consider the mass media coverage for this news from April 2004 to June 2006 using articles from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. This paper is divided into three sections. In the first one we analyze the political and military American strategies after the Twin Towers attacks; we elaborate a short historical reconstruction based on documents produced and issued by the White House and the Department of Defense official websites, the governmental investigations and the enquiries carried out by military authorities. The Abu Ghraib case has to be read within this general defensive strategy. In the second section we focus on the response to the discredit arisen after the publication of the abuse images from Abu Ghraib. In the last section we analyze the Abu Ghraib case from another point of view in order to establish a comparison: the “Stanford Prison Experiment” led by Philip Zimbardo in 1971. The methodology employed in our work is qualitative: a semantic and lexical analysis based on key words and most redundant themes related to the Abu Ghraib case. We use these elements to evaluate the American administration’s response to discredit; finally we also examine the impact of this response on public opinion and ratings of trust and consensus towards President Bush and the Secretary of Defense

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n3p35

Keywords: credibility; coping with discredit; mass media communication; political language; Abu Ghraib case

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