Media representations of white supremacy groups : a content analysis of two Ontario newspapers, 1977 to 1992
Somerfield, Daniel Derrick
Master of Arts
SubjectWhite supremacy movements Press coverage Ontario
Racism Press coverage Ontario
Skinheads Press coverage Ontario
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This thesis investigates how the print media represents white supremacy groups. More specifically, articles concerned with white supremacy groups are examined from The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star from 1977 to 1992 using content analysis techniques. This thesis outlines theoretical perspectives on prejudice and social class as well as on white supremacists. Findings show that articles about white supremacy groups did not occur in any great number during the review period and that they were rarely considered to be front page news. The large majority of articles from both newspapers focused on stories dealing with crime and conflict which only served to portray white supremacy groups in a negative fashion. Analysis of these findings are examined with techniques of interpreting the print media used by Hall ( 1978) and Knight (1998). White supremacy groups operate outside Canada’s state ideology of multiculturalism which is reflected in the print media and thus they are limited in their effect on society. These groups are also treated as secondary sources by the print media which serves to diminish their influence through the press even farther. Increases in white supremacist activities as well as racism in general since the late 1970s have been attributed to the rise of the “new right” in much of the western world. In spite of the general shift to the right politically, public opinion about race does not seem to be related. Incidents of Canadian radical right-wing violence are compared to the number of white supremacist affiliated articles over a fourteen year period. One similarity is that they are both few in number.