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Framing in the ‘New Media Environment’: Fox News Channel (FNC) Covers the Bristol Palin Pregnancy
Unformatted Document Text:  across continuous programming slots. Because the teen pregnancy dimension of the candidate’s story was not dominant compared to the number of stories covering Sarah Palin’s campaign and the impact of Hurricane Gustav on the convention, the story subsided quickly (Pew Research Center, 2008). Re-framing Bristol Palin’s pregnancy In the four-day span of its live convention coverage, the FNC on-air talents—the hosts, and the politicians and pundits who were their guests—reframed Bristol Palin’s pregnancy as a positive event by holding their audience’s attention with three competing frames. First, their on- air discussion avoided discussing Bristol Palin’s pregnancy in the name of her family’s right to privacy. Second, when it became inevitable to talk about the pregnancy, the network’s talking heads re-framed the story as a pro-life choice made by the Palins, and the baby’s teen father and Bristol Palin’s then teen fiancée, Levi Johnston. Third, as the media scrutiny over Palin’s pregnancy surged in the story’s first week, the on-air personalities began to attack the mainstream media’s behavior in a continuation of its ongoing frame against liberal media bias (Jamieson and Cappella, 2008). The facility with which these frames were exchanged reflected the ‘symbolic violence’ that Couldry (2003a) describes as inherent to the ‘myth of the mediated center’ (45). But unlike the mainstream media, the rapid pace of the replacement of the frames at FNC owed to the de-

Authors: Durham, Frank.
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across continuous programming slots. Because the teen pregnancy dimension of the candidate’s 
story was not dominant compared to the number of stories covering Sarah Palin’s campaign and 
the impact of Hurricane Gustav on the convention, the story subsided quickly (Pew Research 
Center, 2008). 
Re-framing Bristol Palin’s pregnancy 
In the four-day span of its live convention coverage, the FNC on-air talents—the hosts, 
and the politicians and pundits who were their guests—reframed Bristol Palin’s pregnancy as a 
positive event by holding their audience’s attention with three competing frames. First, their on-
air discussion avoided discussing Bristol Palin’s pregnancy in the name of her family’s right to 
privacy. Second, when it became inevitable to talk about the pregnancy, the network’s talking 
heads re-framed the story as a pro-life choice made by the Palins, and the baby’s teen father and 
Bristol Palin’s then teen fiancée, Levi Johnston. Third, as the media scrutiny over Palin’s 
pregnancy surged in the story’s first week, the on-air personalities began to attack the 
mainstream media’s behavior in a continuation of its ongoing frame against liberal media bias 
(Jamieson and Cappella, 2008). 
The facility with which these frames were exchanged reflected the ‘symbolic violence’ 
that Couldry (2003a) describes as inherent to the ‘myth of the mediated center’ (45). But unlike 
the mainstream media, the rapid pace of the replacement of the frames at FNC owed to the de-


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