|Title||A Guilty Terrorist Suspect? On Membership Categorization and Presuppositions in News Texts|
|Tag(s)||Membership Categorization Analysis, news, terrorism|
|Book title||From Theory to Practice: How to Assess and Apply Impartiality in News and Current Affairs|
This chapter demonstrates the constitutive role media discourse plays in defining reality, and the social roles and relations within it. The case analyzed is the media coverage of a Tunisian man accused of planning an assassination of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard because of his drawing of Muhammad that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. By analyzing the membership categorization and presuppositions in these news texts, this study shows how the media and the actors cited in the media construct different identities for the suspect – from ‘definitely guilty’ to ‘probably not guilty’. Thus, two narratives conceptualizing the suspect and reality in two different ways appear in the media texts. The current study is a part of ‘The News Week’ project, in which Danish media scholars analyze the content of the Danish media in a particular week in 2008.