Heldman, Caroline; 7-27-09 Revised Presentation
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“A Momentary Lapse of Reason”: Media Frames of Bush Administration Policy Issues

“A Momentary Lapse of Reason”: Media Frames of Bush Administration Policy Issues

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Heldman, Caroline; 7-27-09 Revised Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • 1. “ A Momentary Lapse of Reason”: Media Frames of Bush Administration Policy Issues Caroline Heldman Occidental College
  • 2. Primary Topics
    • Phase I: White House Marketing/ media coverage of the Iraq War.
    • Phase II: White House Marketing/ media coverage of Bush policies pre-9/11.
    • Phase III: White House Marketing/ media coverage of Bush policies post-9/11.
  • 3. Phase I: Iraq War Analysis
    • How did the White House “sell” the recent Iraq War to the American public?
    • How did mainstream print media cover the Iraq War?
    • What does this analysis tell us about presidential power?
  • 4. Trends in the Presidential-Press Relationship
    • Presidents “going public”
    • Increasingly inter-dependent relationship
    • Rally Around the Flag post-9/11
  • 5. Media Effects
    • Agenda-setting
    • Framing
    • Priming
  • 6. Methods
    • Content analysis used
    • Entailed major coding
    • Two datasets generated:
      • White House communications regarding Iraq
      • Print media coverage of Iraq
  • 7. White House Dataset
    • All press releases, press conferences, press gaggles, presidential speeches, and presidential radio addresses that included the word “Iraq” from September 12, 2001, to May 8, 2003.
    • 361 communications included in the White House Dataset.
  • 8. Media Dataset
    • Every other article mentioning the word “Iraq” in Time , Newsweek , and U.S. News and World Report from September 12, 2001, to May 8, 2003.
    • Good sources because of broad circulation, readership accessibility, and the ideological range of their editorial positions.
    • 412 articles in the Media Dataset.
  • 9. The “Selling” of the War
    • Terrorist Frame: Saddam Hussein sponsors terrorism
    • WMD Frame: Hussein’s WMD pose an imminent threat to the U.S.
    • Liberation Frame: Liberation of the Iraqi people from an evil dictator
  • 10. White House Use of Three Frames
  • 11. White House Frames During War
  • 12. White House Mention of WMD
  • 13. Effectiveness of White House Campaign
    • 69% of Americans thought Iraq was involved in 9/11 attacks in August, 2003.
    • 22% believed WMD had been found in August, 2003.
    • Support for the Iraq War much higher among Americans who harbored misperceptions (86% compared to 23%).
  • 14. Support for the War in Iraq
    • A majority of Americans supported the war in Iraq when the White House proposed the idea in 2002, until February, 2005.
    • Extended “Rally Around the Flag” Effect (until April, 2004)
    • Role of press coverage?
  • 15. Framing
  • 16. Agenda-Setting
  • 17. Priming: Terrorist Frame
  • 18. Priming: Liberation Frame
  • 19. Priming: WMD Frame
  • 20. Framing Pre-War to During War
  • 21. WMD Mentions
  • 22. Phase I Findings
    • Media coverage uncannily reflected White House attempts to set the agenda, prime, and frame coverage of the Second Gulf War.
    • Print media articles overwhelmingly reported that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD without questioning this “fact.”
  • 23. Phase I Discussion
    • New York Times and Washington Post mea culpas substantiate findings.
    • Complicit coverage: Media reporting that conveys the White House position, typically using White House language and frames, without counter arguments, discussion of alternative frames, or noting opposition to the policy at hand.
  • 24. Phase II: Pre-9/11 Coverage
    • Research Questions:
      • Did a majority of print media coverage of President Bush’s policy agenda reflect the framing presented by the White House pre-September 11, 2001?
      • Did a majority of print media coverage of President Bush’s policy agenda reflect the priming presented by the White House pre-September 11, 2001?
      • Did a majority of print media coverage of President Bush’s public policy agenda reflect complicit coverage prior to September 11, 2001?
  • 25. Pre-9/11 Policy Agenda
    • Tax Reform
    • Education Reform
    • Faith-Based Initiatives
    • Rebuilding the Military
    • Social Security
    • Medicare
  • 26. WH Tax Reform Frames
    • Government Spending Frame
    • Working Class Frame
    • Class Warfare Frame
    • Small Business Frame
    • Marriage Penalty Frame
    • Economic Stimulus Frame
  • 27. WH Education Frames
    • Local Control Frame
    • High Standards Frame
    • Accountability Frame
  • 28. WH Faith-Based Frames
    • Compassionate Frame
    • Community Building Frame
    • Family Frame
    • Needy People Frame
    • Love Frame
    • Secular Frame
  • 29. WH Rebuilding Military Frames
    • Post- Cold War Frame
    • Strong Military Frame
    • Clear Mission Frame
    • Legitimacy Frame
  • 30. WH Social Security Frames
    • Honoring Commitment Frame
    • Preservation Frame
    • Young People Frame
  • 31. WH Medicare Frames
    • Dignity Frame
    • Choice Frame
    • Cost Frame
  • 32. Percentage of White House Communications Mentioning Policy (n=124)
  • 33. Complicit Coverage Pre-9/11
  • 34. Phase III: Post-9/11 Coverage
    • Research Questions:
      • Did a majority of print media coverage of President Bush’s policy agenda reflect the framing presented by the White House post-9/11?
      • Did a majority of print media coverage of President Bush’s policy agenda reflect the priming presented by the White House post-9/11?
      • Did a majority of print media coverage of President Bush’s public policy agenda reflect complicit coverage after 9/11?
  • 35. Percentage of White House Communications Mentioning Policy Topic (n=480)
  • 36. Energy Policy Framing/Coverage
  • 37. Percentage of Complicit Print Media Articles Pre- and Post-9/11
  • 38. Democratic Implications
    • “ Rally effect” erodes media watchdog function.
    • “ Rally effect” will influence policies linked (even rhetorically) to crisis.
    • Complicit coverage emerges during times when critical coverage is most needed.
  • 39. Presidential Power Implications
    • Persuasive Presidency Theory
    • Imperial Presidency Theory
    • New Model of Imperial Persuasion
  • 40. Imperial Persuasion
    • The president is able to sway the hearts and minds of Americans through skillful selling of ideas through mainstream media during times of national crisis.
  • 41.
    • The End