Colombian portrayals of the Iraq war: The views of the national newspaper El Tiempo | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1898
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1901



This study analysed coverage of the Iraq War during 2003–04 in the only Colombian national newspaper during the time, El Tiempo, to establish how the attributes of this conflict, as represented through this medium, were perceived by its audience. We conducted a thematic analysis of 500 news items and 71 letters to the editor (LTE) to establish the polarity of these texts. Findings showed that the negative tone of the coverage seemed related to a strong negative reaction from the public. This supports the first level of influence from agenda-setting theory, since the Iraq War was an important issue for journalists and the public alike. There is also evidence of a second level of influence with regards to the issues reported being considered negative. LTE were gauged in terms of how they criticized coverage of the war, with the particular finding that journalistic professionalism was questioned following bias accusations about the qualifications of the parties at war. Overall, the wider perspective on public concerns offered by this study could help guide journalistic coverage of the Colombian post-conflict phase.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): agenda-setting; Colombia; Iraq war; journalism; letters to the editor; press
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