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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 5 found that the use of these frames depended mainly on the newspapers’ political orientation and on the target audience of the paper. Further, Rössler (2001) investigated how the rise of the Internet was framed in German news media, particular whether there was generally a more positive or negative assessment of the Internet. He found that more than three-quarters of all articles framed the Internet positively. A strong example of valenced news frames is provided by Conrad (2001) who analyzed the framing of genetic discussions in the news and found that a ‘genetic optimism’ frame, that dominated US newspapers in the 1980s, continued to prevail even when the medical community increasingly signaled dangers of the research. The article predicts that a more balanced ‘genetic optimism’ and ‘genetic pessimism’ will coexist in the future to counter the existing, somewhat ‘distorted’ representation of genetic in the US news. Effects of valenced news frames Moving beyond previous content analytic investigations of valenced frames, a number of studies have dealt with the effects of such frames. McLeod and Detenber (1999), for example, investigated the influence of the framing of television coverage of an anarchist protest on viewers’ support for the protest. The stories differed in the presentation of the protesters, ranging from a more positive to a more negative portrayal of the protesters. The inherent valence of the frames significantly affected viewers so that less support in the news led participants to be more critical of and less likely to identify with the protesters, less critical of the police, and less likely to support expressive rights. Along similar lines, Nelson et al. (1997) investigated the effects of framing a Ku Klux Klan rally either in terms of ‘disruption of public order’ or as a ‘free speech issue’, again one frame being more positive about the issue than the other. They found significant framing effects on tolerance for KKK speeches or rallies among those participants in the positive ‘free speech’ framing condition compared to those in the negative ‘public order disruption’ condition. The review of extant research suggests that a number of studies in political communication have implicitly investigated both the use and effects of valenced frames. However, none of these studies has explicitly addressed the nature of the frames or hypothesized about the impact of the valence on citizens’ attitudes towards policy issues. In

Authors: De Vreese, Claes. and Boomgaarden, Hajo.
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RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
5
found that the use of these frames depended mainly on the newspapers’ political orientation
and on the target audience of the paper. Further, Rössler (2001) investigated how the rise of
the Internet was framed in German news media, particular whether there was generally a
more positive or negative assessment of the Internet. He found that more than three-quarters
of all articles framed the Internet positively. A strong example of valenced news frames is
provided by Conrad (2001) who analyzed the framing of genetic discussions in the news and
found that a ‘genetic optimism’ frame, that dominated US newspapers in the 1980s, continued
to prevail even when the medical community increasingly signaled dangers of the research.
The article predicts that a more balanced ‘genetic optimism’ and ‘genetic pessimism’ will
coexist in the future to counter the existing, somewhat ‘distorted’ representation of genetic in
the US news.
Effects of valenced news frames
Moving beyond previous content analytic investigations of valenced frames, a number
of studies have dealt with the effects of such frames. McLeod and Detenber (1999), for
example, investigated the influence of the framing of television coverage of an anarchist
protest on viewers’ support for the protest. The stories differed in the presentation of the
protesters, ranging from a more positive to a more negative portrayal of the protesters. The
inherent valence of the frames significantly affected viewers so that less support in the news
led participants to be more critical of and less likely to identify with the protesters, less critical
of the police, and less likely to support expressive rights. Along similar lines, Nelson et al.
(1997) investigated the effects of framing a Ku Klux Klan rally either in terms of ‘disruption of
public order’ or as a ‘free speech issue’, again one frame being more positive about the issue
than the other. They found significant framing effects on tolerance for KKK speeches or rallies
among those participants in the positive ‘free speech’ framing condition compared to those in
the negative ‘public order disruption’ condition.
The review of extant research suggests that a number of studies in political
communication have implicitly investigated both the use and effects of valenced frames.
However, none of these studies has explicitly addressed the nature of the frames or
hypothesized about the impact of the valence on citizens’ attitudes towards policy issues. In


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