Anti-American sentiment as a media effect? Arab media, political identity, and public opinion in the Middle East

Erik C. Nisbet, Teresa A. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Many have attributed anti-American sentiment within Arab countries to a highly negative information environment propagated by transnational Arab satellite TV news channels such as Al-Jazeera. However, theoretical models and empirical evidence evaluating the linkages between media exposure and opinion about the United States remains scant. Drawing on theories of media effects, identity, and public opinion, this article develops a theoretical framework explicating how the influence of transnational Arab TV on opinion formation is contingent on competing political identities within the region. Employing 5 years of survey data collected across six Arab countries, we empirically test several propositions about the relationship between Arab TV exposure and public opinion about the United States generated by our theoretical framework. Our results demonstrate significant associations between transnational Arab TV exposure and anti-American sentiment, but also show these associations vary substantially by channel and political identification. The theoretical and policy implications of the study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-709
Number of pages26
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Al-Jazeera
  • Arab
  • Muslim
  • anti-Americanism
  • identity
  • news
  • public opinion
  • television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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