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CNN's framing of September 11: Suggesting an appropriate response to terrorism
Unformatted Document Text:  7 considered “text”), but it is useful to add information here about visual framing and the message production process as it relates to creating images. Messaris and Abraham have suggested that visual framing is different than verbal framing because of three distinct properties of visual images – analogical quality, indexicality and “lack of an explicit prepositional syntax.” 17 Analogical quality refers to the idea that the relationship between most visual images and their meanings are based on analogy or similarity to the objects that they represent. 18 Similarly, indexicality suggests that visual images contain direct pointers to objects that give them a “true-to-life” quality that causes people to believe visual images are more accurate than other forms of communication. 19 In the context of framing, this could “diminish the likelihood that viewers would question what they see.” 20 The third distinct property of images is that they lack “explicit prepositional syntax.” Unlike the first two properties, this refers to the relationship between images and suggests that the connections are “loose, imprecise and unsystematic,” which is opposite of the properties of verbal language. 21 That is, when we use verbal language to communicate we use certain types of syntactic devices to make propositions or connections, whether we are asserting causality or making generalizations. Since images lack this “explicit prepositional syntax,” a viewer’s ability to make sense of a series of images is based on other cues. In the context of video, this means that the ways in which individual shots are edited together can convey different kinds of meanings to viewers. One example of this is the phenomenon of associational juxtaposition, an editing device that, in essence, allows the qualities of an object or a person in one image to be transferred to an object or person in the next image. 22

Authors: Reynolds, Amy. and Barnett, Brooke.
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7
considered “text”), but it is useful to add information here about visual framing and the
message production process as it relates to creating images. Messaris and Abraham have
suggested that visual framing is different than verbal framing because of three distinct
properties of visual images – analogical quality, indexicality and “lack of an explicit
prepositional syntax.”
17
Analogical quality refers to the idea that the relationship
between most visual images and their meanings are based on analogy or similarity to the
objects that they represent.
18
Similarly, indexicality suggests that visual images contain
direct pointers to objects that give them a “true-to-life” quality that causes people to
believe visual images are more accurate than other forms of communication.
19
In the
context of framing, this could “diminish the likelihood that viewers would question what
they see.”
20
The third distinct property of images is that they lack “explicit prepositional
syntax.” Unlike the first two properties, this refers to the relationship between images
and suggests that the connections are “loose, imprecise and unsystematic,” which is
opposite of the properties of verbal language.
21
That is, when we use verbal language to
communicate we use certain types of syntactic devices to make propositions or
connections, whether we are asserting causality or making generalizations. Since images
lack this “explicit prepositional syntax,” a viewer’s ability to make sense of a series of
images is based on other cues. In the context of video, this means that the ways in which
individual shots are edited together can convey different kinds of meanings to viewers.
One example of this is the phenomenon of associational juxtaposition, an editing device
that, in essence, allows the qualities of an object or a person in one image to be
transferred to an object or person in the next image.
22


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