I can't seem to figure out the meaning of ''push'' here.

Is ''pushing a narrative'' a phrase?

After decades of conflict, many no longer see the other side as people, only as threats and enemies. Both sides continue to push a narrative that plays to people’s fears and reinforces the worst stereotypes rather than working to change perceptions and build up belief in the possibility of peace.

2 Answers 2


Here, the word "push" is being used in the sense of forcing something onto someone, like how you might say "My family continue to push their religious beliefs on me." if your family are trying to encourage you to take up a religious belief system or practice which you do not welcome.

In this specific instance, it is a narrative (i.e. a story) which is being pushed - a kind of propaganda by the sounds of it. Each side in this conflict is propagating an interpretation of previous or current events which encourages people to be afraid and reinforces stereotypes.

I believe you could replace the word "push" with "promote" here without changing the meaning if that helps.

  • what does ''plays to people's fear'' mean, here? does it mean to instill fear in people?
    – Masih K
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:08
  • It means that the narrative being promoted encourages people to be fearful, or augments fears they might already have.
    – 3N1GM4
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:09
  • thank you very much. you made the whole meaning clear. but I don't understand the meaning of ''play'' and the structure of this sentence? is it an equivalent to ''plays to make people fear''?
    – Masih K
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:23
  • 1
    "plays to" here is being used in the same way as "speaks to" to "relates to", effectively meaning it is reinforcing the thing it plays to. So for example, if we assume that people think clowns are scary, if people began dressing up as clowns and chasing people in dark and secluded areas (which is likely to frighten people), we could say that "The actions of the people dressed as clowns plays to people's fears of clowns" - we're saying that the actions of the clowns in this example reinforces the existing feelings of fear which people might have for clowns, heightening the resulting fear.
    – 3N1GM4
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:37



is a story and in this case

plays to people’s fears and reinforces the worst stereotypes

So people are "pushing", "repeating", "ingraining", and "advocating" this narrative.
So it doesn't go away and people remember it.

  • Thank you. what does ''plays to people's fears'' mean?
    – Masih K
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 14:51

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