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Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
Unformatted Document Text:  RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU 4 report it and, in some important degree, for us who rely on their reports.” Thus, on the one hand media frames are identified, whereas on the other hand framing effects are examined. Consequently, framing analysis is directed towards an understanding of the relationship between issues presented in varying news outlets and the public’s perception of these modes of presentation. Synthesizing previous research on news frames a distinction can be made between studies examining generic or issue-specific frames (AUTHOR, 2002). Issue-specific frames are relevant only for certain specific issues or events, and generic frames can be applied to a broad range of topics, hereby exceeding thematic, cultural or time limitations. In addition, however, we may consider some frames to be inherently valenced while others appear to be more neutral. By valence we mean that some frames are indicative of ‘good and bad’ and (implicitly) carry positive and/ or negative elements. On the one hand, for example, Entman’s (1991) study of the news coverage of airline accidents showed how frames carry implicit valuations. He found that a US airline accident was framed in terms of ‘tragedy’ and ‘mistake’, whereas a comparable accident of a Soviet airplane was dominantly framed in terms of ‘attack’ and ‘deliberate’. 1 On the other hand, frames such as the conflict frame which juxtaposes two opposing views may not necessarily offer specific evaluations on an issue. Examples of frames that have inherent valence include the ‘Cold War’ frame (Norris, 1995). The ‘Cold War’ frame depicted international events in terms of rivalry between two major superpowers and ranged other countries into ‘friends and enemies’ of these superpowers. This frame has similarities to the ‘Dictatorship-Democracy’ frame: by means of a clear polarization between friends and enemies, dictators and democratic leaders or between good and bad, the frame carries an inherent valence. Another study analyzing the media coverage of labor conflicts in the US again makes an implicit distinction between more positive or more negative framing of the issue. Martin and Oshagan (1997) analyzed press and network news coverage of the closing down of a General Motors plant and found that a ‘no option’ frame dominated the news coverage, compared to an ‘alternative’ frame in which the closing of the plant was challenged and alternatives were offered. Recently, van Gorp (2002) analyzed the representation of asylum seekers in Belgian news. He operationalized two frames, ‘asylum seekers are innocent victims’ and ‘asylum seekers are profiteers and criminals’, which carry clear valuations of the issue at stake. He

Authors: De Vreese, Claes. and Boomgaarden, Hajo.
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RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
4
report it and, in some important degree, for us who rely on their reports.” Thus, on the one
hand media frames are identified, whereas on the other hand framing effects are examined.
Consequently, framing analysis is directed towards an understanding of the relationship
between issues presented in varying news outlets and the public’s perception of these modes
of presentation. Synthesizing previous research on news frames a distinction can be made
between studies examining generic or issue-specific frames (AUTHOR, 2002). Issue-specific
frames are relevant only for certain specific issues or events, and generic frames can be
applied to a broad range of topics, hereby exceeding thematic, cultural or time limitations. In
addition, however, we may consider some frames to be inherently valenced while others
appear to be more neutral. By valence we mean that some frames are indicative of ‘good and
bad’ and (implicitly) carry positive and/ or negative elements. On the one hand, for example,
Entman’s (1991) study of the news coverage of airline accidents showed how frames carry
implicit valuations. He found that a US airline accident was framed in terms of ‘tragedy’ and
‘mistake’, whereas a comparable accident of a Soviet airplane was dominantly framed in
terms of ‘attack’ and ‘deliberate’.
1
On the other hand, frames such as the conflict frame which
juxtaposes two opposing views may not necessarily offer specific evaluations on an issue.
Examples of frames that have inherent valence include the ‘Cold War’ frame (Norris,
1995). The ‘Cold War’ frame depicted international events in terms of rivalry between two
major superpowers and ranged other countries into ‘friends and enemies’ of these
superpowers. This frame has similarities to the ‘Dictatorship-Democracy’ frame: by means of
a clear polarization between friends and enemies, dictators and democratic leaders or
between good and bad, the frame carries an inherent valence. Another study analyzing the
media coverage of labor conflicts in the US again makes an implicit distinction between more
positive or more negative framing of the issue. Martin and Oshagan (1997) analyzed press
and network news coverage of the closing down of a General Motors plant and found that a
‘no option’ frame dominated the news coverage, compared to an ‘alternative’ frame in which
the closing of the plant was challenged and alternatives were offered.
Recently, van Gorp (2002) analyzed the representation of asylum seekers in Belgian
news. He operationalized two frames, ‘asylum seekers are innocent victims’ and ‘asylum
seekers are profiteers and criminals’, which carry clear valuations of the issue at stake. He


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