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Abstract

This paper uses structural topic modeling to examine how coverage of the United States differs between two state-sponsored news sources from the Iranian government. The first, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), is the Iranian government’s main media arm which publishes news in Persian. The second, PressTV, is a smaller arm of IRIB which publishes news exclusively in English and French. I use a structural topic model with 20 topic groups to analyze mentions of the US in both news sources from 01/01/2020 to 11/30/2020. Previous literature has analyzed the political and social uses of anti-Americanism, but no research has used state- sponsored media as a representation of regime rhetoric to compare inward and outward messaging. After analyzing over 20,000 documents from both sources combined, I find that the Iranian government is more likely to emphasize US military aggression to external audiences while directing cultural anti-Americanism inward. From this, I conclude that anti-Americanism is a political tool used by the Iranian government. Second, I find that the Iranian government is more likely to highlight cultural differences and local politics to domestic audiences while emphasizing US weakness and aggression to external audiences.

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