Our previous post on the Iranian election sought to reveal clues about which Iranian presidential candidate should be considered Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s favorite to succeed Ahmadinejad. Another interesting signal derived from Recorded Future’s Web Intelligence is the coverage of each candidate from Iranian sources, including which sources cover which candidate, compared to the coverage of each candidate from sources published elsewhere. In this case, we’ll use the United States media coverage as our comparison.
Iranian Media Coverage of Candidates
All three Iranian presidential debates took place during the past week making media coverage from this period especially interesting to analyze. Below is a timeline describing the volume of mentions for each candidate between May 31 and June 7. Click here to view live.
The vertical axis is ordered according to total number of references, so you can see that from the Iranian sources collected by Recorded Future, the top three most mentioned candidates in order of volume are: Mohsen Rezaee, Hassan Rowhani, and Mohammad Reza Aref.
Two points of interest stand out from the data:
Volume of mentions is one metric worth investigating, but there’s another step to consider: what sources are most prominently covering each candidate? Identifying the top media sources for each candidate may also be helpful in determining the audience to which each has the most exposure.
Below is a breakdown of the same data shown in the above timeline, but described by boxes sized according to which source provided the most coverage for each candidate. You can also see a live view.
A few highlights to call out:
- Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf, current mayor of Tehran, saw the greatest amount of his coverage come from local Tehran Times.
- Mohammad Reza Aref, generally considered to be one of the election’s moderate options, has received much attention from the community driven news site Balatarin.
United States Media Coverage of Candidates
Now that we’ve got a grasp on Iranian coverage, let’s look at United States media in comparison. Take a look at how the timeline of Iranian coverage during the past seven days lines up against coverage from US media. A live view can be found here.
Most interesting on first glance is the absence from the “top 8″ of Mohsen Rezaee, who was most mentioned in Iranian media during the past week. He’s received minimal attention from Western media, which if he were elected seems that it would lead to a categorization of the result as a “surprise” by the American press.
The most mentioned candidate in US media during the past week is Hasan Rowhani, the only cleric in the race. The dominance in coverage was largely due to arrests of his supporters during a campaign speech along with hints of a partnership with fellow moderate Mohammad Reza Aref to create a more formidable centrist presence come election day.
We here at Analysis Intelligence are not Iran experts, but instead are looking to media data for clues and signals about the presidential campaign and individual candidates. What else do you see in the data?
Is it surprising to the see the attention from US media given to Rowhani and infringements on his campaign by police? Do you think that the coverage of Rezaee suggests he might be frontrunner? What other questions could we ask using Web Intelligence related to this or other elections?
Leave us your thoughts in the comments.