"More Barney Than Buddhist":
How the Media Framed the Story of the Little Lama
By Melissa A. Wall
School of Communications
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195 USA
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"More Barney Than Buddhist":
How the Media Framed the Story of the Little Lama
This study explores the framing of the story of a young American boy believed to
be the reincarnation of a Tibetan lama, finding that coverage depicted this
event through four frames: American pop culture 'R us; There's no place like
home; A mother's place is with her son; and Buddhism is for Buddhists. The most
striking findings suggest that commercial symbols appear to be replacing
nationalistic or patriotic ones to represent America.
"More Barney Than Buddhist":
How the Media Framed the Story of the Little Lama
When a Seattle, Wash., woman announced that her 4-year-old son was the
reincarnation of a revered Tibetan lama, reporters from the Los Angeles Times,
USA Today, "CBS Evening News" and the major wire services descended upon the
story. The woman was taking her son to Nepal where she would permanently leave
him at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the care of monks while she returned to
the United States. The story of the little lama represents a critical case of
new patterns of representation of national identity in a changing global order.
As Castells (1996) notes "in a world of global flows of wealth, power and
images, the search for identity, collective or individual, ascribed or
constructed, becomes the fundamental source of social meaning" (p. 3). The
fragmentation of contemporary American society has led to the questioning of
dominant beliefs about who Americans collectively are and what they should
value. Here, we have a specific example of media representation with which to
probe these issues: An American woman not only appears to reject the United
States as the best place for her son to live but who also violates other assumed
American norms concerning religion and motherhood.
Conceptual and methodological framework This paper is based on the idea that
news is not a reflection of reality to be measured for "accuracy" of the image.
Instead, news is a social construct, a constructed representation that is part
of an underlying value system. The detection of these value systems will be
accomplished in this project through the use of frame analysis. Frame analysis
of media texts has been derived from Goffman's (1974) argument that framing is
the cognitive process by which people make sense of the world. A frame is a way
of organizing our "strips of experience" into meaning (p. 11). Various
researchers have argued that, in a similar manner, the media "frame" the news
(Tuchman, 1978; Gitlin, 1980; Entman, 1993; Gamson & Modigliani, 1989). Through
a process of determining what to include or exclude, what to emphasize and what
to de-emphasize, the media frame the reporting of a news event so that a
particular interpretation will be shared by most news audiences (Gitlin, 1980).
News frames create and limit meanings. They tend to distort and simplify. While
frames will suggest a particular understanding, some audience members will have
alternative readings. Also, frames generally are not iron clad; they can
contain contradictory material that is usually de-emphasized by placing it lower
in the story and not associating it with compelling or familiar words or images.
Gamson and Modigliani (1989) argue that news stories are packages that consist
of a frame and various condensing symbols that work as a shorthand between the
journalist and the reader. They define specific framing devices as metaphors,
exemplars, catchphrases, depictions and visual images. The significance of what
is included in media coverage lies not in the number of times a word or phrase
appears but rather by its appearance in connection with thematically reinforcing
clusters of facts or judgments often associated with or repeated near culturally
familiar symbols (Entman, 1991, 1993; Gamson & Modigliani, 1989). Entman (1991)
suggests probing for stereotyped images and "particular words . . . that
consistently appear in a narrative and convey thematically consonant meanings"
Thus, this study seeks to uncover the systems of representation in the coverage
of the lama story by looking for those images or words that indicate the
presence of media frames of the event. Frames were detected by paying special
attention words and images associated with the two central actors (the boy and
his mother); the United States, Nepal and Tibet, and with the Buddhist religion.
All nine original stories that appeared on a Lexis-Nexis search were examined.
This includes: USA Today, The Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, AP Worldstream,
Reuters, UPI, DPA, Newsweek, and a transcript of "CBS Evening News." Stories
that were a combination of various wire service reports were not included.
At the end of 1995, Carolyn Lama publicly disclosed that she would be taking
her son, Sonam Wangdu also known as Tulku-la ("reincarnation"), to Nepal at the
beginning of 1996 to leave him at a Tibetan-run Buddhist monastery. She planned
to visit him twice a year or as often as she could afford to. Carolyn believed
her son to be the reincarnation of a revered Tibetan Buddhist lama who had fled
to Seattle in 1960. Denshung Rinpoche, one of the highest lamas of Tibetan
Buddhism's Sakya tradition, had been a teacher at the Thalung Monastery in
Eastern Tibet. He was the third incarnation of the original Denshung Rinpoche
("precious one.") Like many other Tibetans, he had been forced to flee the 1959
Chinese invasion in which 87,000 Tibetans were killed and more than 6,000
monasteries were destroyed. In 1960, he came to the University of Washington
and was among the first group of Tibetan refugees to arrrive in the United
States. With two other spiritual leaders, he later established the Sakya
Monastery in Seattle and the Tharlam monastery in Katmandu. The Sakya is one of
four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He also lectured about Tibetan Buddhism
around the United States. In the 1980s he told his followers he would be reborn
in Seattle. He died in 1987 at age 81. Buddhists believe that they are born and
reborn over and over again until they reach a state of nirvana. Lamas are
spiritual leaders who have reached nirvana but choose to be reborn again in
order to help ease the suffering of others. There are believed to be at least
four reincarnated lamas from the United States, which scholars attribute to the
global spread of Tibetan Buddhism.
In 1989, Carolyn Massey married a Tibetan man, Tenzin Lama, living in Seattle.
Soon after she became pregnant. From the beginning of her pregnancy, the young
couple saw signs that their son might be special. The night before he was born
she dreamed she was in an airplane. When they landed, she saw the Dali Lama, but
her son was the one giving the lectures. Dreams are especially important in
Buddhism. Senior lamas from Nepal also visited and determined that the boy was
the reincarnation of Denshung Rinpoche. A senior lama in Seattle named him
Sonam Wangdu before he was born and without knowing the child's gender. Sonam
means "with merit" and Wangdu means "spiritual power." All of these phenomenon
convinced Carolyn Lama, a follower of Tibetan Buddhism, that her son was the
lama. In 1993, the boy's father, Tenzin, was killed in a bus crash in Seattle.
The analysis of the stories about the little lama revealed four frames. These
y American pop culture 'R us. In this frame, American toys, fast food, and
television shows are all used to describe Tulku-la.
y There's no place like home. Here the United States is portrayed as the most
appropriate place for the boy. Tied up with the idea of place is subtle denial
of the boy's mixed race heritage, implying that to be American is to be only
y A mother's place is with her son. This frame suggests that Carolyn Lama's
leaving her son in Nepal is wrong and evidence that she is a bad mother.
y Buddhism is for Buddhists. Implicitly, this frame mocks the central idea of
reincarnation as implausible and irrational. This frame does not condemn
Buddhism per se, but implies that the religion cannot be understood or
authentically practiced by Westerners.
American pop culture 'R us
Rather than represent the United States through nationalistic symbols or values
such as freedom, opportunity, etc., the coverage consistently identified
Tulku-la with particular commercial symbols. In this frame, American toys, junk
foods, fast food restaurants, television shows and characters - all noted by
specific name brand - were presented as the defining features in describing who
this young boy is. The frame was the most prominent, appearing in almost every
What kind of boy is Tulku-la? Rather than focusing personal qualities,
reporters describe him over and over through his preferences in name brand toys.
USA Today, CBS Evening News, and UPI each makes a point of reporting that the
boy likes to play with Power Rangers action figures, while The Seattle Times
reports that his favorite action heroes include Batman and Spiderman. In other
instances, television shows are invoked to help explain who he is. For USA Today
he is the kind of boy who sings "a mantra more Barney than Buddhist," while the
Reuters's lead describes him as a child who is "mesmerized by a Winnie the Pooh
cartoon." The Seattle Times observes that he wears Lion King sweatshirt that
declares "I cannot wait to be king." Newsweek notes he'll "give up his Lil
Monster sweat suit" to become a monk. In addition, some stories linked him to
U.S. fast food items. In USA Today, we read of Tulku-la with "Honey Nut
Cheerios dripping down his chin," while the Los Angeles Times reports that he
"scatters McDonald's french fries across the floor."
But do these descriptions tell us anything? What does knowing his preference
for toy brands and his liking of fast food brands tell us about Tulku-la? That
these specifics were chosen to appear in the lead of many stories indicates they
were perceived as among the most important telling details collected by the
reporters. Although some of the interviews occur on the grounds of his Buddhist
day care center in Seattle, details about this particular space (which is not a
commercial milieu) are not included. A lone UPI quote from his teacher
describing him as a "kind and very thoughtful boy" is buried in the overall
avalanche of commercial details.
The commercial symbols and names often appear in the opening paragraphs of the
stories where the story theme is introduced. Because these symbols appear at
the crucial point in which the implicit rejection of the United States is being
reported, this seems to suggest that the media are using popular culture
products as symbols for America. To be American, the media imply, is to play
with Power Rangers, rather than to participate in certain preschool games or
rituals that could just as easily be used to represent American values.
Within this frame there was room for alternative readings, although these tend
to be less credible. In the Los Angeles Times, Tulku-la's mother is the one who
cites some of those traditional symbols when she says he'll give up Little
League and the prom, noncommercial icons of American childhood. Yet these
images are buried within the body of the story so that they lack the salience of
the popular culture emphasis. USA Today gave his mother space to say what is
unsaid in all the other stories: "Most Westerners will think, 'Poor child, he
won't get to go to McDonald's,' she said. 'But what's more important? Having a
sincere feeling of infinite compassion for all beings or eating 60,000 Chicken
McNuggets?' " Her comment, however, comes after the article earlier discredits
her so that the quote is ambiguous, open to several interpretations.
There's no place like home
With this frame, coverage stressed the superiority of the United States as a
place to grow up as well as de-emphasizing Tulku-la's biracial, bicultural
heritage. By doing so, it implicitly suggests that the boy's real home is the
United States and that his true, authentic identity is as a white boy. Coverage
drew both direct and indirect comparisons between the United States and Nepal,
always based on the assumption that the former was the superior, preferred
place. Tulku-la's biracial background is brushed over or ignored, although it is
obviously a crucial aspect of his life. The fact that he is being taken out of
the predominantly Anglo-Christian culture in favor of an Asian-Buddhist one is
one of the fundamental tensions in this story.
This frame was especially prominent in the "CBS Evening News" story which
although taped in Nepal, kept referencing the story back to the United States.
America or American was mentioned nine times in all, as if the audience could
not watch a story in Nepal without the constant reminder that the story was not
actually about Nepalese. The story was introduced by the anchor this way: "In
the last few decades, Buddhism has crossed the Pacific Ocean and won followers
in America. Now the Americans are sending something back, something precious
and alive." His mother may be bringing him to Nepal, but certainly there is no
national donation happening here.
At three different points, viewers are reminded that Tulku-la is an "American
boy" - once at the very beginning of the story, once at the very end and once in
the middle. The reporter also notes that his childhood will be different from
"any other American child." Lest the audience back home get confused about the
boy's "real" heritage, the story also notes that his mother is "American
through and through." Indeed, her Buddhism was not found in Nepal, CBS reports.
She converted in America.
The story makes no attempt to appreciate the beauty and rich culture that Nepal
offers. Instead, it constantly looks to the United States as the measure
against which Nepal cannot measure up. Rather than invoking the Statue of
Liberty, Washington, D.C., or other nationalistic symbols, however, the
reporter invokes a commercial symbol. He probes bystanders with this question
(from the "CBS Evening News" transcripts):
Reporter: Do they know where America is?
Unidentified man (foreign language spoken): (no answer)
Reporter: Have they ever heard of Disneyland?
Unidentified man (foreign language spoken): They don't know.
If America = Disneyland, how does the coverage represent Nepal and Tibet? Tibet
is rarely mentioned. Nepal is a place untouched by time where monks, CBS
reports, do what they "have done for centuries": chant and pray. After all,
these people don't even know where Disneyland is. The coverage conveys a sense
of deprivation and isolation. The monastery in Nepal is described as "remote" by
the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek, although it is located just outside
Katmandu. CBS notes that the boy's spiritual world may be as "big as the
universe, but not his physical world," describing Tulku-la "confined" to a small
world in a "tiny monastery." UPI reports he will receive a "stern" education.
USA Today notes he will live behind "8 foot walls," headed for a life of
"celibacy" and denial. "He will arise each day at 5 a.m. and memorize
thousands of pages of sacred texts in Tibetan and Sanskrit. He will depend on
donations. His diet will be simple. Bread and tea for breakfast, meat or
vegetable curry and rice for lunch, soup for dinner." Coverage fails to mention
that for many Western travelers Katmandu has long been considered a prime
destination because of its perceived virtues.
It's as if a commercial world is a boundless, border-less expanse where one can
share brand name recognition with others around the globe. A Tibetan Buddhist
monastery, however, is "tiny" because that spiritual world cannot measure up to
the material one offered in the United States. Yet by not growing up in urban
America, Tulku-la will not have to deal with a violent gun culture, easily
available drugs, commercialism or American racism.
As for Tibet, it is often not mentioned in the coverage other than in connection
with Tibetan Buddhism. Most stories fail to make clear that the monastery where
the boy will live is run by Tibetan refugees. Many make no mention of the Dali
Lama or other important background information about the Chinese invasion in
1959 that led to Tibetan refugees seeking space around the globe to peacefully
practice their religion. Stories easily could have included a compelling human
rights angle: the old lama's appearance in Seattle was no whim but the
catastrophic result of the invasion of Tibet and the attempt by the Chinese
government to eliminate that religion. This unexplored perspective could help
Americans understand how events in far away regions ultimately can have a very
local connection. The two European wire services devote more space to
information about Tibet and the Chinese invasion. Whether this represents a
broader world view, wire service news norms or individual reporters'
perspectives is unclear.
Finally, attempts to see Tulku-la as a bi-racial, bi-cultural child are muted or
non-existent. Reuters identifies him in the second paragraph as a "stocky
Anglo-Saxon boy," whose father was "a Seattle restaurant worker" and never
explains that the boy is half Tibetan. This symbolic annihilation of half his
heritage is echoed in other stories as well. Half of them note only that his
father was killed, never explaining who he was. Stories often include the
crucial information that his father was Tibetan far down in the text. Thus we
read of his mother as a "widowed day care worker" and only paragraphs later find
out that the father was Tibetan. No story explains how Tenzin himself ended up
in Seattle, as if that whole other half of the story is invisible or not worth
telling. No story explains that Tulku-la's Tibetan grandmother lives a
20-minute walk from the monastery, thus putting him in contact with his father's
family. Again, the non-Anglo side of the boy's identity is simply ignored.
A mother's place is with her son
This frame suggests that Carolyn Lama should not leave her son in Nepal. The
underlying message is that a good mother would never give up her son and so she
must have some fundamental flaws. Those flaws are evident in her unwillingness
to follow a middle-class career and lifestyle path. A university drop-out, she
has not consistently married and settled down, opting instead for a less settled
quest in her life, including adopting a non-Western religion and settling for a
low paying job.
This frame was particularly strong in USA Today, which consistently judged her:
That his mother would leave him with monks in an isolated land - a place as far
removed from the everyday comforts of American life as can be imagined - strikes
most non-Buddhists, including his grandmother, as simply inexplicable.
"I'm in a mixed-up world," says Tulku-la's grandmother, Ginny Massey. She
adopted Tulku-la's mother, Carolyn, and raised her as a Catholic. "How can a
mother leave her child?"
The Los Angeles Times also noted Carolyn's lack of conformity, reporting that
her "non-Buddhist friends have expressed surprise and shock that she would give
up her child." This implies that her actions are aberrant, yet many wealthy
Americans send their children to boarding school and this is not viewed as
bizarre or a shirking of their parental duties. This suggests that among
"normal" Americans, her decision certainly does not resonate. The publication
goes on to report that "Carolyn converted to Buddhism after a failed first
marriage and three years of 'bumming around' national parks."
Carolyn Lama is obviously a woman with some very different values and notions
than what are accepted for middle class America. She has not followed a preset
career track, having dropped off that path to forge her own life journey. Yet
stories never probe her values or her worldview. Coverage simply implies that
her rejection of the expected lifestyle is misguided at best. Whether her
nonconformity might be presented as more understandable if she were a man is
unclear. Yet even those dimensions of her life that could indicate the presence
of stereotypical female characteristics (her job as a caregiver at an adult
assisted living home) are never presented as selfless or nurturing work.
Instead we are presented with a kooky, selfish woman who is making an extremely
unconventional decision. Interestingly, even the description of another case of
a Western-born child lama was described by the Los Angeles Times as to a mother
who was a "hippy" who lived in a teepee. Thus, we are assured once more of what
a normal mother is and is not. No story sees fit to make the obvious connection:
Carolyn's mother, Ginny Massey, would not have had a daughter if some other
mother had not decided to give her child up.
Buddhism is for the Buddhists
Coverage of the Buddhist religion was ambivalent. When coverage describes it
practiced by Westerners it's depicted as downright strange or even comical. Thus
the Los Angeles Times reports, "It may seem odd that the eternal cycle of death
and rebirth, learning and teaching, should have visited the middle of this north
Seattle neighborhood, two blocks away from a Pizza Hut outlet and a Blockbuster
video store." The stories examined here particularly made fun of the idea that
Tulku-la could be the reincarnation of an elderly Tibetan Buddhist lama.
Reporters appear unable to even entertain the concept of reincarnation. Yet
surely reincarnation is no more difficult a concept to understand and accept
than the Catholic belief in transsubstantiation. For example, USA Today began
with this lead:
In the incense-scented shrine room of the Tibetan Cultural Center here, a place
where he mediated and lectured for years, Lama Deshung Ripoche IV sits totally
He's seen this Thundercats cartoon before.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported,
This 4-year-old believed to be the reincarnation of the revered Deshung
Rinpoche, one of the highest lamas of Tibetan Buddhism's Sakya tradition is
wearing the classic maroon garb required of his sacred position. But in this
case, it is a pair of sweatpants and a matching sweat suit that says "Lil
USA Today describes the boy pointing at a photograph of the Dali Lama, saying,
"That's me when I was all growed up." CBS's spin on explaining reincarnation
also is to allow 4-year-old Tulku-la to define it. The reporter explains that he
like a beloved saint who's come back to be their teacher and leader again.
Tulku-la: Yeah, when I was all grown up.
Reporter: When you were all grown up before?
Tulku-la: Yeah, when I was old like him.
Reporter: When you were old like him.
This exchange clearly aims to undercut the credibility of the idea because it
implies first that if the 4 year old is a revered lama, then he should currently
have the exact same mental capacity. Secondly, it does not bother to ask a
religious or academic expert in Nepal or even in the United States to explain.
Even Carolyn Lama could have been asked to give an explanation.
In other instances, coverage would describe a Buddhist belief, than describe
the boy not acting that way, implying that this is evidence that he cannot be
what the Tibetan Buddhists claim he is. USA Today quotes a Buddhism expert
explaining that lamas have a compassionate energy, which is immediately followed
by: "Tulku-la has energy - of a typical pre-schooler. He threatens to dump milk
on a visitor and shouts, 'I hate you!' He removes pillows from a couch and won't
put them back." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times describes his mother watching
the young boy romp around: " 'Lamas don't act that way!' " pleads Carolyn
Even when seriously explaining Buddhism, the publications indicate that the
beliefs are flawed. The Los Angeles Times explains that this tale is only partly
about religion, noting that is also "very much about a mother's hopes for her
son and an American community's love for an aging Tibetan holy man - a love so
profound that many were eager to believe that, after her left them in death he
would return." Thus, by attaching a note of pathos to the story, the
publication is insinuating that readers must not also be taken in. The boy
lama's story is not within the realm of the possible, after all the Times
reports, Bernardo Bertolucci has already made a movie on this topic ("Little
Buddha.") The Seattle Times does make an effort to explain Buddhism. This may be
because the story was co-written by two Asian American staff writers or because
of the paper's push for multicultural perspectives. The Los Angeles Times does
give space to scholars from the University of Washington, including a former
translator and religious studies professor. Yet these explanations are placed
deep inside the story often between much more skeptical material.
Media frames by nature rely on some sort of shorthand in order to create a
salience for the news audience, but the choice of shorthand catchphrases,
metaphors or images was particularly tied here to commercial language as evident
in the American pop culture R us and There's no place like home frames. This is
the most striking finding of this analysis. Stories talk about this child
through references to toys, fast food restaurants and junk food. These
commercial images and symbols appeared to be used to identify what was American
about the little boy, suggesting that the media may now be using new symbols and
imagery to represent the national character that are connected to the private,
business sphere. Part of the explanation for this type of coverage, then, must
come from the economics of the media and more broadly from the commercialization
of the civic sphere.
Various researchers have noted that media ownership has undergone a dramatic
shift toward monopoly ownership in the 1980s and 1990s (Bagdikian, 1997; Herman
& McChesney, 1997). Among the many effects has been a sensationalizing or
tabloidization of the news and an overall culture of entertainment. As Herman
and McChesney (1997) argue, the global media are the "missionaries of our age,
promoting the virtues of commercialism and the market" (p. 37). Observers have
noted that the public sphere is disappearing as global privatization has taken
marketing to new arenas ranging from public schools to museums (Schiller, 1996;
Bagdikian, 1996). While the language and communication of commercialism was long
considered distinct from information communication, that border has disappeared
with commercial language now used in movies, television shows and news stories
(Andersen, 1995; Wall, 1997). Through all of these means, we have been
conditioned to accept consumerism and the language of marketing (Bagdikian,
1997). Thus we find a set of stories concerning a young boy identified as a
Tibetan Buddhist lama who is moving to Nepal invoking commercial images to help
audiences identify with the boy. Winnie the Pooh and Disneyland -- not Little
League and Gettysburg -- are used to represent his Americanness. Furthermore,
this sort of associational language is a key component of commodity culture:
Disparate meanings systems are connected through signs and symbols to generate
new meanings (Goldman, Heath & Smith, 1991). Stories attach commercial items to
the boy to represent his essential Americanness. The expectation here appears to
be that such language will resonant with Western readers, that the commercial
images will help the audience understand who this boy is. We are left with a
question Schiller (1998) poses: "[H]as all encompassing commercialization become
part of American's DNA?"(pp. 190-191). Have we truly become citizens of global
place that geographically exists only within the commodified place Barber (1996)
Beyond this emphasis, we have two other frames defining gender and religious
roles. In the A mother's place is with her son frame, Carolyn Lama is
represented as a deviant mother who is shirking her parental responsibilities by
leaving her son in Nepal. The clear message of the coverage is that a mother
must stay with her child. Lama's decision to allow her son's Tibetan heritage to
be nurtured and developed is seen as bizarre and inappropriate. Obviously, this
is linked to the perception that Nepal is somehow less fit a place to grow up in
and an unwillingness to accept the values and beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism. That
Buddhism was not very well understood in the stories is not surprising.
Non-Western religions are often misrepresented in the Western press at best and
sometimes stereotyped, insulted and demonized (Hernandez, 1994; Said, 1981).
The complexity of these religions escapes many Western journalists who have
little or no experience with them. Buddhism as practiced by Buddhists is
mysterious and ritualistic, which is a judgment in itself.
Finally, if examined together, the frames appear to rely on a series of
opposites in their construction. Thus, America is presented as a colorful,
bountiful commercial environment where the boy is indulged while at the other
end of the spectrum is Nepal, a spartan, isolated, and deprived place where he
will be constantly denied material goods. A second opposite is seen in the
representation of the boy's mixed racial and cultural heritage: he is portrayed
as "white" all-American boy rather than both a Tibetan and an American boy. Some
of the holistic concepts of Buddhism are discredited by questioning how the boy
could be four years old and at the same time be reincarnated lama also.
Finally, the mother is depicted as selfish despite the fact that she sees
herself giving up her son as an act of extreme generosity. The inability or
unwillingness of those covering this story to see the story in its whole is
clear from their establishment of these opposites. By relying on opposites, the
coverage supports the distorting notions of what Said (1979) and others have
called "The Other." This tendency has long prevailed in Western, especially
American coverage of issues involving race or other even foreign policy stories
pitting the United States against other countries. The West defines itself by
what it is not; whatever the West is not is negative.
While this study is of a single critical incident, its goal is to prompt
further research into the issues raised. Several directions for future study are
suggested. First, research should continue to focus on the coverage of
non-Christian religions in the Western press. While concern has been raised
concerning images of Islam, this study suggests future research might focus on
Buddhism, especially with the increasingly high profile the religion has in
Western culture (consider the movies "Kundun," "Seven Years in Tibet," etc.)
Secondly, an increasing number of young Americans today are of mixed race and
perceive themselves as a mixture of two or more cultures, creating their own
hybrid culture. They do not consider themselves to be "one thing." The
findings here suggest that the media may be misrepresenting this phenomenon.
Finally, previous research on international news has focused on the role of
governments, but today non-state actors such as large multinational corporations
may be taking center stage. This tendency for commercial language to become part
of information communication needs to continue to be tracked as the language of
nationalism may be replaced with the language of commercialism. The impact of
the globalization of the world's economies and, specifically the media, should
be leading researchers into new understandings about collective identities.
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