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A Functional Approach to Political Advertising
Unformatted Document Text:  10 repair discourse methods, such as denial, evading responsibility, and reducing offensiveness of events (Benoit 1995). Third, policy themes are classified as past deeds, future plans, and general goals, whereas character themes are categorized into personal qualities, leadership ability, and ideals. Examples of themes are provided in Appendix 1. Two coders content-analyzed political news advertisements for the 1997 presidential election. Both coders analyzed a set of congressional advertisements to check for intercoder reliability. Cohen’s kappa (1960) was .77 for coding theses as acclaims, attacks, and defenses; .72 for classifying themes as policy or character; .86 for classifying policy themes as past deeds, future plans, or general goals; and .69 for coding character themes as personal qualities, leadership ability, or ideas. Fleiss (1981) suggests that a kappa value greater than .75 represents excellent agreement and a value between .40 and .75 represents fair to good agreement beyond chance. According to this criterion, coder reliability for this study is quite satisfactory. Results The first hypothesis predicts that acclaims will outnumber attacks, which in turn will be used more often than defenses. The result supports this hypothesis. A one-way chi square test shows that this distribution is significantly different ( χ 2 = 104.69, df=2, p<.001). The presidential newspaper advertisements use acclaims most frequently (52.2%), followed by attacks (45.3%) and very few defenses (2.2%). Considering only

Authors: Lee, Cheolhan. and Choi, Yun Jung.
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10
repair discourse methods, such as denial, evading responsibility, and reducing
offensiveness of events (Benoit 1995).
Third, policy themes are classified as past deeds, future plans, and general goals,
whereas character themes are categorized into personal qualities, leadership ability, and
ideals. Examples of themes are provided in Appendix 1.
Two coders content-analyzed political news advertisements for the 1997
presidential election. Both coders analyzed a set of congressional advertisements to check
for intercoder reliability. Cohen’s kappa (1960) was .77 for coding theses as acclaims,
attacks, and defenses; .72 for classifying themes as policy or character; .86 for classifying
policy themes as past deeds, future plans, or general goals; and .69 for coding character
themes as personal qualities, leadership ability, or ideas. Fleiss (1981) suggests that a
kappa value greater than .75 represents excellent agreement and a value between .40 and
.75 represents fair to good agreement beyond chance. According to this criterion, coder
reliability for this study is quite satisfactory.
Results
The first hypothesis predicts that acclaims will outnumber attacks, which in turn
will be used more often than defenses. The result supports this hypothesis. A one-way
chi square test shows that this distribution is significantly different (
χ
2
= 104.69, df=2,
p<.001). The presidential newspaper advertisements use acclaims most frequently
(52.2%), followed by attacks (45.3%) and very few defenses (2.2%). Considering only


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