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Genetically modified foods: A typology of frames in U.S. news magazines
Unformatted Document Text:  Price - GM Food Typology News articles on GM foods frequently employed the pollution metaphor to frame the issue by focusing on “contamination” of non-GM crops by GM crops (Petersen, 2005). “Pollution and contagion metaphors presume the existence of some pure state of nature which is in danger of adulteration by some unclean or dangerous contaminant and therefore in need of protection” (Petersen, 2005, p. 206). Further, historical associations such as plagues invoke threat and fear responses from such contagion metaphors (Petersen, 2005). A study of British newspapers in 1998 and 1999 which compared references to cloning and genetically modified plants found allusions to Frankenstein common to both, but beyond that, found more diverse references in the discourse of GM crops (Nerlich, Clarke, & Dingwall, 2000). Modifications of book and film titles, idioms, sayings, proverbs, clichés, cultural references, and quotations were found. Alliteration was a key stylistic device reported, beginning with the “Frankenstein food” reference (Nerlich, Clarke, & Dingwall, 2000, p. 234). The metaphors, idioms and alliterations found by Nerlich et al in British news reports on the GM food debate included smart plants, killer genes, killer tomatoes, superweeds, supermaize, super salmon, ubercrops, outlaw corn, designer crops, mutant food, alien genes, food for thought, seeds of dissent, seeds of doubt, let us spray, an acquired distaste, genetically modified hot potato, Frankenfood, Frankenfish, food fight, forbidden fruit, among others. Method As earlier discussed, the decade from 1995 through 2004 is a time period well-suited to the analysis of the genetically modified foods issue because of the introduction and wide propagation of GM crops in the United States and the resulting occurrence of GMOs in more than 60% of U.S. foods by the conclusion of the study’s time frame. 8

Authors: Price, Joan.
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Price - GM Food Typology
News articles on GM foods frequently employed the pollution metaphor to frame the
issue by focusing on “contamination” of non-GM crops by GM crops (Petersen, 2005).
“Pollution and contagion metaphors presume the existence of some pure state of nature which is
in danger of adulteration by some unclean or dangerous contaminant and therefore in need of
protection” (Petersen, 2005, p. 206). Further, historical associations such as plagues invoke
threat and fear responses from such contagion metaphors (Petersen, 2005).
A study of British newspapers in 1998 and 1999 which compared references to cloning
and genetically modified plants found allusions to Frankenstein common to both, but beyond
that, found more diverse references in the discourse of GM crops (Nerlich, Clarke, & Dingwall,
2000). Modifications of book and film titles, idioms, sayings, proverbs, clichés, cultural
references, and quotations were found. Alliteration was a key stylistic device reported, beginning
with the “Frankenstein food” reference (Nerlich, Clarke, & Dingwall, 2000, p. 234).
The metaphors, idioms and alliterations found by Nerlich et al in British news reports on
the GM food debate included smart plants, killer genes, killer tomatoes, superweeds, supermaize,
super salmon, ubercrops, outlaw corn, designer crops, mutant food, alien genes, food for thought,
seeds of dissent, seeds of doubt, let us spray, an acquired distaste, genetically modified hot
potato, Frankenfood, Frankenfish, food fight, forbidden fruit, among others.
Method
As earlier discussed, the decade from 1995 through 2004 is a time period well-suited to
the analysis of the genetically modified foods issue because of the introduction and wide
propagation of GM crops in the United States and the resulting occurrence of GMOs in more
than 60% of U.S. foods by the conclusion of the study’s time frame.
8


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