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Analyzing the Media Coverage of Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage: A Comparison of Reuters and Sputnik News

Nord stream pipelines suffered explosions and subsequent underwater gas leaks on 26 September 2022. After the explosion, the U.S., EU, NATO, and Russia all expressed that it had been caused by intentional sabotage. However, the perpetrators’ identities and the motives behind such intentional sabotage remain debated. This article provides a news analysis comparing the media coverage of Reuters and Sputnik regarding the reasons for the sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines. The two articles are Nord Stream gas ‘sabotage’: who’s being blamed and why? from Reuters and History Repeats Itself? The Time US Sabotaged a Soviet Gas Pipeline and Bragged about It from Sputnik News.


News headlines play a significant role in directing readers’ attention towards specific parts of a news story. They can influence how readers perceive the news and the parties involved. In this case, Reuters chose a neutral headline in the form of a question, “Nord Stream gas ‘sabotage’: who’s being blamed and why?” This headline generates reader interest and avoids pointing fingers directly. On the other hand, Sputnik News chose a direct headline, “History Repeats Itself? The Time US Sabotaged a Soviet Gas Pipeline and Bragged about It.” This title suggests that the U.S. is responsible and portrays Russia as a victim.


The power of image in news is huge and it affects readers’ attitudes about the whole story. Our brains can interpret images much quicker than text. Which photo runs across the cover of the newspaper is a matter of debate every time a big news event occurs. 

Reuters chooses two images, one is a gas leak from Nord stream 2 seen in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea. Another one is a map of the network of this transmission system, showing when and where the leak happened, which is visual.          

The images Sputnik News chooses are all about the history of the 1970s. The vivid colors and the description of the history can help it evoke the reader’s memories of the CIA interference in the 1980s, supporting its point that The US is behind this sabotage more convincing. 

Reuters 1

Reuters 2

Sputnik News

Content and Media bias

Media bias is inherent in all news, but hidden biases can be misleading, manipulative, and divisive. Therefore, readers should approach articles with a critical eye. Reuters maintains relative neutrality in its reporting, focusing on facts and analysis. It highlights several facts, such as the statement from the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, who claimed that it was “very obvious” who was behind the attack but did not specify who. The Kremlin denied allegations of Russian involvement, while President Vladimir Putin blamed the United States and its allies for the attack.

Reuters also presents the motivations of both the U.S. and Russia to act. The U.S. has long called for Europe to end its reliance on Russian gas, while the damage caused by the Nord Stream attack means Russia loses an element of leverage over Europe. Reuters does not assign blame for the attack, as the motives and responsible party are still unclear.

Sputnik News, on the other hand, spends the entire article trying to convince readers that the U.S. is responsible for the explosion. It cites an analysis by Flightradar24, which showed U.S. military helicopters circling for hours in the areas where the explosions occurred before the incident. Sputnik also devotes significant space to describing the 1982 explosion on the Urengoy-Surgut-Chelyabinsk pipeline, which carried natural gas south and west towards Ukraine and Europe. This explosion was also suspected of having Western involvement. Sputnik News uses this example to support its argument that the U.S. is responsible for the Nord Stream attack.

Edited By: Ritaja Kar

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Tags: #Russia #SputnikNews #NordStreamPipeline


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