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The Impact of Contradicting Media Messages on Political Perceptions: The Case of a Partisan Dispute in Korea over Lifting Ban on U.S. Beef Imports
Unformatted Document Text:  THE IMPACT OF CONFLICTING FRAMES 2 Abstract Since mass media is the primary channel through which average citizens are informed of political issues, the way a political affair is described by the media plays an important role in shaping people’s political attitudes. Although its impact has largely been supported by many experimental results, not many studies have tapped into real world issues and very few have tried to answer the question of whether a frame can survive in a competitive environment. By utilizing a natural experiment setting where news frames from different types of media outlets contradicted each other, this study examined whether the impact of countervailing frames can persist in competitive environments to affect citizens’ political evaluations. Along with the impact of news media frames, the influence of perceived responsibility on political judgments was taken into account as well. The results show that media messages with conflicting frames failed to influence citizens’ political evaluations, cancelling out each other’s effect. Instead, the evidence suggests that political perceptions were largely shaped by such factors as the locus of causal responsibility and policy evaluations, which, in turn, were affected by one’s political ideology. Implications for framing research and suggestions for future research were discussed.

Authors: Lee, ByungGu.
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Since mass media is the primary channel through which average citizens are 
informed of political issues, the way a political affair is described by the media plays 
an important role in shaping people’s political attitudes. Although its impact has 
largely been supported by many experimental results, not many studies have tapped 
into real world issues and very few have tried to answer the question of whether a 
frame can survive in a competitive environment. By utilizing a natural experiment setting 
where news frames from different types of media outlets contradicted each other, this study 
examined whether the impact of countervailing frames can persist in competitive environments 
to affect citizens’ political evaluations. Along with the impact of news media frames, the 
influence of perceived responsibility on political judgments  was taken into account as well. The 
results show that media messages with conflicting frames failed to influence citizens’ political 
evaluations, cancelling out each other’s effect. Instead, the evidence suggests that political 
perceptions were largely shaped by such factors as the locus of causal responsibility and policy 
evaluations, which, in turn, were affected by one’s political ideology. Implications for framing 
research and suggestions for future research were discussed. 

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