Consensus at Home, Opposition Abroad: Officials, Foreign Sources, and US News Coverage of Drone Warfare

Charles M. Rowling, Penelope Sheets, William Pettit, Jason Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines the process and conditions under which U.S. news coverage aligns with—or challenges—the communications of government officials, focusing on the issue of U.S. drone warfare. White House, military, congressional, and press communications during President Obama’s first 5 years in office are analyzed to assess how the policy has been framed among officials and covered within the press. Evidence indicates that news coverage was significantly more critical of the policy than what was expressed among officials. In particular, despite near consensus at home, journalists exercised considerable discretion, consistently locating and amplifying oppositional voices from abroad in news coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-908
Number of pages23
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018



  • drone warfare
  • foreign sourcing
  • framing
  • indexing
  • news norms
  • press independence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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