Framing (social sciences)

In the social sciences, framing comprises a set of concepts and theoretical perspectives on how individuals, groups, and societies, organize, perceive, and communicate about reality.

Framing can manifest in thought or interpersonal communication. Frames in thought consist of the mental representations, interpretations, and simplifications of reality. Frames in communication consist of the communication of frames between different actors.[1]

In social theory, framing is a schema of interpretation, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes, that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events.[2] In other words, people build a series of mental "filters" through biological and cultural influences. They then use these filters to make sense of the world. The choices they then make are influenced by their creation of a frame.

Framing is also a key component of sociology, the study of social interaction among humans. Framing is an integral part of conveying and processing data on a daily basis. Successful framing techniques can be used to reduce the ambiguity of intangible topics by contextualizing the information in such a way that recipients can connect to what they already know.

Framing involves social construction of a social phenomenon – by mass media sources, political or social movements, political leaders, or other actors and organizations. Participation in a language community necessarily influences an individual's perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases. Politically, the language communities of advertising, religion, and mass media are highly contested, whereas framing in less-sharply defended language communities might evolve imperceptibly and organically over cultural time frames, with fewer overt modes of disputation.

One can view framing in communication as positive or negative – depending on the audience and what kind of information is being presented. The framing may be in the form of equivalence frames, where two or more logically equivalent alternatives are portrayed in different ways (see framing effect) or emphasis frames, which simplify reality by focusing on a subset of relevant aspects of a situation or issue.[1] In the case of "equivalence frames", the information being presented is based on the same facts, but the "frame" in which it is presented changes, thus creating a reference-dependent perception.

The effects of framing can be seen in journalism: the "frame" surrounding the issue can change the reader's perception without having to alter the actual facts as the same information is used as a base. In the context of politics or mass-media communication, a frame defines the packaging of an element of rhetoric in such a way as to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others. For political purposes, framing often presents facts in such a way that implicates a problem that is in need of a solution. Members of political parties attempt to frame issues in a way that makes a solution favoring their own political leaning appear as the most appropriate course of action for the situation at hand.[3]

As an expample: When we want to explain an event, our understanding is often based on our interpretation (frame). If someone rapidly closes and opens an eye, we react differently based on if we interpret this as a "physical frame" (they blinked) or a "social frame" (they winked). Them blinking may be due to a speck of dust (resulting in an involuntary and not particularly meaningful reaction). Them winking may imply a voluntary and meaningful action (to convey humor to an accomplice, for example).

Observers will read events seen as purely physical or within a frame of "nature" differently from those seen as occurring with social frames. But we do not look at an event and then "apply" a frame to it. Rather, individuals constantly project into the world around them the interpretive frames that allow them to make sense of it; we only shift frames (or realize that we have habitually applied a frame) when incongruity calls for a frame-shift. In other words, we only become aware of the frames that we always already use when something forces us to replace one frame with another.[4][5]

Though some consider framing to be synonymous with agenda setting, other scholars state that there is a distinction. According to an article written by Donald H. Weaver, framing selects certain aspects of an issue and makes them more prominent in order to elicit certain interpretations and evaluations of the issue, whereas agenda setting introduces the issue topic to increase its salience and accessibility.[6]

Effect in communication research

In communication, framing defines how news media coverage shapes mass opinion.

Richard E. Vatz's discourse on creation of rhetorical meaning relates directly to framing, although he references it little. To be specific, framing effects refer to behavioral or attitudinal strategies and/or outcomes that are due to how a given piece of information is being framed in public discourse. Today, many volumes of the major communication journals contain papers on media frames and framing effects.[7] Approaches used in such papers can be broadly classified into two groups: studies of framing as the dependent variable and studies of framing as the independent variable.[8] The former usually deals with frame building (i.e. how frames create societal discourse about an issue and how different frames are adopted by journalists) and latter concerns frame setting (i.e. how media framing influences an audience).

Frame building

Frame building is related to at least three areas: journalist norms, political actors, and cultural situations. It assumes that several media frames compete to set one frame regarding an issue, and one frame finally gains influence because it resonates with popular culture, fits with media practices, or is heavily sponsored by elites.

First, in terms of practices of news production, there are at least five aspects of news work that may influence how journalists frame a certain issue: larger societal norms and values, organizational pressures and constraints, external pressures from interest groups and other policy makers, professional routines, and ideological or political orientations of journalists. The second potential influence on frame building comes from elites, including interest groups, government bureaucracies, and other political or corporate actors. Empirical studies show that these influences of elites seem to be strongest for issues in which journalists and various players in the policy arena can find shared narratives.

Finally, cultural contexts of a society are also able to establish frame. Erving Goffman[2] assumes that the meaning of a frame has implicit cultural roots. This context dependency of media frame has been described as 'cultural resonance'[9] or 'narrative fidelity'.[10]

Frame setting

When people are exposed to a novel news frame, they will accept the constructs made applicable to an issue, but they are significantly more likely to do so when they have existing schema for those constructs. This is called the applicability effect. That is, when new frames invite people to apply their existing schema to an issue, the implication of that application depends, in part, on what is in that schema. Therefore, generally, the more the audiences know about issues, the more effective are frames.

There are a number of levels and types of framing effects that have been examined. For example, scholars have focused on attitudinal and behavioral changes, the degrees of perceived importance of the issue, voting decisions, and opinion formations. Others are interested in psychological processes other than applicability. For instance, Iyengar[11] suggested that news about social problems can influence attributions of causal and treatment responsibility, an effect observed in both cognitive responses and evaluations of political leaders, or other scholars looked at the framing effects on receivers' evaluative processing style and the complexity of audience members' thoughts about issues.

In mass communication research

News media frame all news items by emphasizing specific values, facts, and other considerations, and endowing them with greater apparent applicability for making related judgments. News media promotes particular definitions, interpretations, evaluations and recommendations.[12][13]

Foundations in mass communication research

In the 1972 book Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Anthropologist Gregory Bateson first defined the concept of framing as "a spatial and temporal bounding of a set of interactive messages."[14]

Sociological roots of media framing research

Media framing research has both sociological and psychological roots. Sociological framing focuses on "the words, images, phrases, and presentation styles" that communicators use when relaying information to recipients.[1] Research on frames in sociologically driven media research generally examines the influence of "social norms and values, organizational pressures and constraints, pressures of interest groups, journalistic routines, and ideological or political orientations of journalists" on the existence of frames in media content.[15]

Todd Gitlin, in his analysis of how the news media trivialized the student New Left movement during the 1960s, was among the first to examine media frames from a sociological perspective. Frames, Gitlin wrote, are "persistent patterns of cognition, interpretations, and presentation, of selection [and] emphasis ... [that are] largely unspoken and unacknowledged ... [and] organize the world for both journalists [and] for those of us who read their reports."[16]

Psychological roots of media framing research

Research on frames in psychologically driven media research generally examines the effects of media frames on those who receive them. For example, Iyengar explored the impact of episodic and thematic news frames on viewers' attributions of responsibility for political issues including crime, terrorism, poverty, unemployment, and racial inequality.[17] According to Iyengar, an episodic news frame "takes the form of a case study or event-oriented report and depicts public issues in terms of concrete instances," while a thematic news frame "places public issues in some more general abstract context ... directed at general outcomes or conditions."[12][17] Iyengar found that the majority of television news coverage of poverty, for example, was episodic.[17] In fact, in a content analysis of six years of television news, Iyengar found that the typical news viewer would have been twice as likely to encounter episodic rather than thematic television news about poverty.[17]

Further, experimental results indicate participants who watched episodic news coverage of poverty were more than twice as likely as those who watched thematic news coverage of poverty to attribute responsibility of poverty to the poor themselves rather than society.[17] Given the predominance of episodic framing of poverty, Iyengar argues that television news shifts responsibility of poverty from government and society to the poor themselves.[17] After examining content analysis and experimental data on poverty and other political issues, Iyengar concludes that episodic news frames divert citizens' attributions of political responsibility away from society and political elites, making them less likely to support government efforts to address those issue and obscuring the connections between those issues and their elected officials' actions or lack thereof.[17]

Clarifying and distinguishing a "fractured paradigm"

Perhaps because of their use across the social sciences, frames have been defined and used in many disparate ways. Entman called framing "a scattered conceptualization" and "a fractured paradigm" that "is often defined casually, with much left to an assumed tacit understanding of the reader."[12] In an effort to provide more conceptual clarity, Entman suggested that frames "select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described."[12]

Entman's[12] conceptualization of framing, which suggests frames work by elevating particular pieces of information in salience, is in line with much early research on the psychological underpinnings of framing effects (see also Iyengar,[17] who argues that accessibility is the primary psychological explanation for the existence of framing effects). Wyer and Srull[18] explain the construct of accessibility thus:

  1. People store related pieces of information in "referent bins" in their long-term memory.[18]
  2. People organize "referent bins" such that more frequently and recently used pieces of information are stored at the top of the bins and are therefore more accessible.[18]
  3. Because people tend to retrieve only a small portion of information from long-term memory when making judgments, they tend to retrieve the most accessible pieces of information to use for making those judgments.[18]

The argument supporting accessibility as the psychological process underlying framing can therefore be summarized thus: Because people rely heavily on news media for public affairs information, the most accessible information about public affairs often comes from the public affairs news they consume. The argument supporting accessibility as the psychological process underlying framing has also been cited as support in the debate over whether framing should be subsumed by agenda-setting theory as part of the second level of agenda setting. McCombs and other agenda-setting scholars generally agree that framing should be incorporated, along with priming, under the umbrella of agenda setting as a complex model of media effects linking media production, content, and audience effects.[19][20][21] Indeed, McCombs, Llamas, Lopez-Escobar, and Rey justified their attempt to combine framing and agenda-setting research on the assumption of parsimony.[21]

Scheufele, however, argues that, unlike agenda setting and priming, framing does not rely primarily on accessibility, making it inappropriate to combine framing with agenda setting and priming for the sake of parsimony.[15] Empirical evidence seems to vindicate Scheufele's claim. For example, Nelson, Clawson, and Oxley empirically demonstrated that applicability, rather than their salience, is key.[13] By operationalizing accessibility as the response latency of respondent answers where more accessible information results in faster response times, Nelson, Clawson, and Oxley demonstrated that accessibility accounted for only a minor proportion of the variance in framing effects while applicability accounted for the major proportion of variance.[13] Therefore, according to Nelson and colleagues, "frames influence opinions by stressing specific values, facts, and other considerations, endowing them with greater apparent relevance to the issue than they might appear to have under an alternative frame."[13]

In other words, while early research suggested that by highlighting particular aspects of issues, frames make certain considerations more accessible and therefore more likely to be used in the judgment process,[12][17] more recent research suggests that frames work by making particular considerations more applicable and therefore more relevant to the judgment process.[13][15]

Equivalency versus emphasis: two types of frames in media research

Chong and Druckman suggest framing research has mainly focused on two types of frames: equivalency and emphasis frames.[22] Equivalency frames offer "different, but logically equivalent phrases," which cause individuals to alter their preferences.[1] Equivalency frames are often worded in terms of "gains" versus "losses." For example, Kahneman and Tversky asked participants to choose between two "gain-framed" policy responses to a hypothetical disease outbreak expected to kill 600 people.[23] Response A would save 200 people while Response B had a one-third probability of saving everyone, but a two-thirds probability of saving no one. Participants overwhelmingly chose Response A, which they perceived as the less risky option. Kahneman and Tversky asked other participants to choose between two equivalent "loss-framed" policy responses to the same disease outbreak. In this condition, Response A would kill 400 people while Response B had a one-third probability of killing no one but a two-thirds probability of killing everyone. Although these options are mathematically identical to those given in the "gain-framed" condition, participants overwhelmingly chose Response B, the risky option. Kahneman and Tversky, then, demonstrated that when phrased in terms of potential gains, people tend to choose what they perceive as the less risky option (i.e., the sure gain). Conversely, when faced with a potential loss, people tend to choose the riskier option.[23]

Unlike equivalency frames, emphasis frames offer "qualitatively different yet potentially relevant considerations" which individuals use to make judgments.[22] For example, Nelson, Clawson, and Oxley exposed participants to a news story that presented the Ku Klux Klan's plan to hold a rally.[13] Participants in one condition read a news story that framed the issue in terms of public safety concerns while participants in the other condition read a news story that framed the issue in terms of free speech considerations. Participants exposed to the public safety condition considered public safety applicable for deciding whether the Klan should be allowed to hold a rally and, as expected, expressed lower tolerance of the Klan's right to hold a rally.[13] Participants exposed to the free speech condition, however, considered free speech applicable for deciding whether the Klan should be allowed to hold a rally and, as expected, expressed greater tolerance of the Klan's right to hold a rally.[13]

In finance

Preference reversals and other associated phenomena are of wider relevance within behavioural economics, as they contradict the predictions of rational choice, the basis of traditional economics. Framing biases affecting investing, lending, borrowing decisions make one of the themes of behavioral finance.

In psychology and economics

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman have shown that framing can affect the outcome of choice problems (i.e. the choices one makes), so much so that some of the classic axioms of rational choice are not true.[24] This led to the development of prospect theory.[25]

The context or framing of problems adopted by decision-makers results in part from extrinsic manipulation of the decision-options offered, as well as from forces intrinsic to decision-makers, e.g., their norms, habits, and unique temperament.

Experimental demonstration

Tversky and Kahneman (1981) demonstrated systematic reversals of preference when the same problem is presented in different ways, for example in the Asian disease problem. Participants were asked to "imagine that the U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume the exact scientific estimate of the consequences of the programs are as follows."

The first group of participants was presented with a choice between programs: In a group of 600 people,

  • Program A: "200 people will be saved"
  • Program B: "there is a 1/3 probability that 600 people will be saved, and a 2/3 probability that no people will be saved"

72 percent of participants preferred program A (the remainder, 28%, opting for program B).

The second group of participants was presented with the choice between the following: In a group of 600 people,

  • Program C: "400 people will die"
  • Program D: "there is a 1/3 probability that nobody will die, and a 2/3 probability that 600 people will die"

In this decision frame, 78% preferred program D, with the remaining 22% opting for program C.

Programs A and C are identical, as are programs B and D. The change in the decision frame between the two groups of participants produced a preference reversal: when the programs were presented in terms of lives saved, the participants preferred the secure program, A (= C). When the programs were presented in terms of expected deaths, participants chose the gamble D (= B).[26]

Absolute and relative influences

Framing effects arise because one can often frame a decision using multiple scenarios, in which one may express benefits either as a relative risk reduction (RRR), or as absolute risk reduction (ARR). Extrinsic control over the cognitive distinctions (between risk tolerance and reward anticipation) adopted by decision makers can occur through altering the presentation of relative risks and absolute benefits.

People generally prefer the absolute certainty inherent in a positive framing-effect, which offers an assurance of gains. When decision-options appear framed as a likely gain, risk-averse choices predominate.

A shift toward risk-seeking behavior occurs when a decision-maker frames decisions in negative terms, or adopts a negative framing effect.

In medical decision making, framing bias is best avoided by using absolute measures of efficacy.[27]

Frame-manipulation research

Researchers have found that framing decision-problems in a positive light generally results in less-risky choices; with negative framing of problems, riskier choices tend to result.[24]

In a study by researchers at Dartmouth Medical School, 57% of the subjects chose a medication when presented with benefits in relative terms, whereas only 14.7% chose a medication whose benefit appeared in absolute terms. Further questioning of the patients suggested that, because the subjects ignored the underlying risk of disease, they perceived benefits as greater when expressed in relative terms.[28]

Theoretical models

Researchers have proposed[29][30] various models explaining the framing effect:

  • cognitive theories, such as the fuzzy-trace theory, attempt to explain the framing-effect by determining the amount of cognitive processing effort devoted to determining the value of potential gains and losses.
  • prospect theory explains the framing-effect in functional terms, determined by preferences for differing perceived values, based on the assumption that people give a greater weighting to losses than to equivalent gains.
  • motivational theories explain the framing-effect in terms of hedonic forces affecting individuals, such as fears and wishes—based on the notion that negative emotions evoked by potential losses usually out-weigh the emotions evoked by hypothetical gains.
  • cognitive cost-benefit trade-off theory defines choice as a compromise between desires, either as a preference for a correct decision or a preference for minimized cognitive effort. This model, which dovetails elements of cognitive and motivational theories, postulates that calculating the value of a sure gain takes much less cognitive effort than that required to select a risky gain.

Neuroimaging

Cognitive neuroscientists have linked the framing effect to neural activity in the amygdala, and have identified another brain-region, the orbital and medial prefrontal cortex (OMPFC), that appears to moderate the role of emotion on decisions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain-activity during a financial decision-making task, they observed greater activity in the OMPFC of those research subjects less susceptible to the framing effect.[31]

In sociology

Framing theory and frame analysis provide a broad theoretical approach that analysts have used in communication studies, news (Johnson-Cartee, 1995), politics, and social movements (among other applications).

According to some sociologists, the "social construction of collective action frames" involves "public discourse, that is, the interface of media discourse and interpersonal interaction; persuasive communication during mobilization campaigns by movement organizations, their opponents and countermovement organizations; and consciousness raising during episodes of collective action."[32]

History

Word-selection has been a component of rhetoric.

Most commentators attribute the concept of framing to the work of Erving Goffman on frame analysis and point especially to his 1974 book, Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Goffman used the idea of frames to label "schemata of interpretation" that allow individuals or groups "to locate, perceive, identify, and label" events and occurrences, thus rendering meaning, organizing experiences, and guiding actions.[33] Goffman's framing concept evolved out of his 1959 work, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a commentary on the management of impressions. These works arguably depend on Kenneth Boulding's concept of image.[34]

Social movements

Sociologists have utilized framing to explain the process of social movements.[10] Movements act as carriers of beliefs and ideologies (compare memes). In addition, they operate as part of the process of constructing meaning for participants and opposers (Snow & Benford, 1988). Sociologists deem the mobilization of mass-movements "successful" when the frames projected align with the frames of participants to produce resonance between the two parties. Researchers of framing speak of this process as frame re-alignment.

Frame-alignment

Snow and Benford (1988) regard frame-alignment as an important element in social mobilization or movement. They argue that when individual frames become linked in congruency and complementariness, "frame alignment" occurs,[35] producing "frame resonance", a catalyst in the process of a group making the transition from one frame to another (although not all framing efforts prove successful). The conditions that affect or constrain framing efforts include the following:

  • "The robustness, completeness, and thoroughness of the framing effort". Snow and Benford (1988) identify three core framing-tasks, and state that the degree to which framers attend to these tasks will determine participant mobilization. They characterize the three tasks as the following:
    1. diagnostic framing for the identification of a problem and assignment of blame
    2. prognostic framing to suggest solutions, strategies, and tactics to a problem
    3. motivational framing that serves as a call to arms or rationale for action
  • The relationship between the proposed frame and the larger belief-system; centrality: the frame cannot be of low hierarchical significance and salience within the larger belief system. Its range and interrelatedness, if the framer links the frame to only one core belief or value that, in itself, has a limited range within the larger belief system, the frame has a high degree of being discounted.
  • Relevance of the frame to the realities of the participants; a frame must seem relevant to participants and must also inform them. Empirical credibility or testability can constrain relevancy: it relates to participant experience, and has narrative fidelity, meaning that it fits in with existing cultural myths and narrations.
  • Cycles of protest (Tarrow 1983a; 1983b); the point at which the frame emerges on the timeline of the current era and existing preoccupations with social change. Previous frames may affect efforts to impose a new frame.

Snow and Benford (1988) propose that once someone has constructed proper frames as described above, large-scale changes in society such as those necessary for social movement can be achieved through frame-alignment.

Types

Frame-alignment comes in four forms: frame bridging, frame amplification, frame extension and frame transformation.

  1. Frame bridging involves the "linkage of two or more ideologically congruent but structurally unconnected frames regarding a particular issue or problem" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 467). It involves the linkage of a movement to "unmobilized [sic] sentiment pools or public opinion preference clusters" (p. 467) of people who share similar views or grievances but who lack an organizational base.
  2. Frame amplification refers to "the clarification and invigoration of an interpretive frame that bears on a particular issue, problem, or set of events" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 469). This interpretive frame usually involves the invigorating of values or beliefs.
  3. Frame extensions represent a movement's effort to incorporate participants by extending the boundaries of the proposed frame to include or encompass the views, interests, or sentiments of targeted groups (Snow et al., 1986, p. 472).
  4. Frame transformation becomes necessary when the proposed frames "may not resonate with, and on occasion may even appear antithetical to, conventional lifestyles or rituals and extant interpretive frames" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 473).

When this happens, the securing of participants and support requires new values, new meanings and understandings. Goffman (1974, pp. 43–44) calls this "keying", where "activities, events, and biographies that are already meaningful from the standpoint of some primary framework, in terms of another framework" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 474) such that they are seen differently. Two types of frame transformation exist:

  1. Domain-specific transformations, such as the attempt to alter the status of groups of people, and
  2. Global interpretive frame-transformation, where the scope of change seems quite radical—as in a change of world-views, total conversions of thought, or uprooting of everything familiar (for example: moving from communism to market capitalism, or vice versa; religious conversion, etc.).

As rhetorical criticism

Although the idea of language-framing had been explored earlier by Kenneth Burke (terministic screens), political communication researcher Jim A. Kuypers first published work advancing frame analysis (framing analysis) as a rhetorical perspective in 1997. His approach begins inductively by looking for themes that persist across time in a text (for Kuypers, primarily news narratives on an issue or event) and then determining how those themes are framed. Kuypers's work begins with the assumption that frames are powerful rhetorical entities that "induce us to filter our perceptions of the world in particular ways, essentially making some aspects of our multi-dimensional reality more noticeable than other aspects. They operate by making some information more salient than other information...."[36]

In his 2009 essay "Framing Analysis" in Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in Action[37] and his 2010 essay "Framing Analysis as a Rhetorical Process",[38] Kuypers offers a detailed conception for doing framing analysis from a rhetorical perspective. According to Kuypers, "Framing is a process whereby communicators, consciously or unconsciously, act to construct a point of view that encourages the facts of a given situation to be interpreted by others in a particular manner. Frames operate in four key ways: they define problems, diagnose causes, make moral judgments, and suggest remedies. Frames are often found within a narrative account of an issue or event, and are generally the central organizing idea."[39] Kuypers's work is based on the premise that framing is a rhetorical process and as such it is best examined from a rhetorical point of view. Curing the problem is not rhetorical and best left to the observer.

In politics

Framing is used to construct, refine, and deliver messages. Framing in politics is essential to getting your message across to the masses. Frames are mental structures that shape the way we view the world (Lakoff, Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate 2004).[40] Reframing is used particularly well by both conservatives and liberals in the political arena, so well that they have news anchors and commentators discussing the ideas, supplied phrases and framing (Lakoff, Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate 2004).[40]

Law

Edward Zelinsky has shown that framing effects can explain some observed behaviors of legislators.[41]

In Media

The role framing plays in the effects of media presentation has been widely discussed, with the central notion that associated perceptions of factual information can vary based upon the presentation of the information.

News media examples

In Bush's War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age,[42]Jim A. Kuypers examined the differences in framing of the War on Terror between the Bush administration and the U.S. mainstream news media between 2001 and 2005. Kuypers looked for common themes between presidential speeches and press reporting of those speeches, and then determined how the president and the press had framed those themes. By using a rhetorical version of framing analysis, Kuypers determined that the U.S. news media advanced frames counter to those used by the Bush administration:

the press actively contested the framing of the War on Terror as early as eight weeks following 9/11. This finding stands apart from a collection of communication literature suggesting the press supported the President or was insufficiently critical of the President's efforts after 9/11. To the contrary, when taking into consideration how themes are framed, [Kuypers] found that the news media framed its response in such a way that it could be viewed as supporting the idea of some action against terrorism, while concommitantly opposing the initiatives of the President. The news media may well relay what the president says, but it does not necessarily follow that it is framed in the same manner; thus, an echo of the theme, but not of the frame. The present study demonstrates, as seen in Table One [below], that shortly after 9/11 the news media was beginning to actively counter the Bush administration and beginning to leave out information important to understanding the Bush Administration's conception of the War on Terror. In sum, eight weeks after 9/11, the news media was moving beyond reporting political opposition to the President—a very necessary and invaluable press function—and was instead actively choosing themes, and framing those themes, in such a way that the President's focus was opposed, misrepresented, or ignored.[43]

Table One: Comparison of President and News Media Themes and Frames 8 Weeks after 9/11[44]

Themes President's Frame Press Frame
Good v. Evil Struggle of good and evil Not mentioned
Civilization v. Barbarism Struggle of civilization v. barbarism Not mentioned
Nature of Enemy Evil, implacable, murderers Deadly, indiscriminant

Bush Administration

Nature of War Domestic/global/enduring

War

Domestic/global/longstanding

War or police action

Similarity to Prior Wars Different Kind of War WWII or Vietnam?
Patience Not mentioned Some, but running out
International Effort Stated Minimally reported

In 1991 Robert M. Entman published findings[45] surrounding the differences in media coverage between Korean Air Lines Flight 007 and Iran Air Flight 655. After evaluating various levels of media coverage, based on both amount of airtime and pages devoted to similar events, Entman concluded that the frames the events were presented in by the media were drastically different:

By de-emphasizing the agency and the victims and by the choice of graphics and adjectives, the news stories about the U.S. downing of an Iranian plane called it a technical problem, while the Soviet downing of a Korean jet was portrayed as a moral outrage… [T]he contrasting news frames employed by several important U.S. media outlets in covering these two tragic misapplications of military force. For the first, the frame emphasized the moral bankruptcy and guilt of the perpetrating nation, for the second, the frame de-emphasized the guilt and focused on the complex problems of operating military high technology.

Differences in coverage amongst various media outlets:

Amounts of Media coverage dedicated to each event Korean Air Iran Air
Time Magazine and Newsweek 51 pages 20 pages
CBS 303 minutes 204 minutes
New York Times 286 stories 102 stories

In 1988 Irwin Levin and Gary Gaeth did a study on the effects of framing attribute information on consumers before and after consuming a product (1988). In this study they found that in a study on beef, people who ate beef labeled as 75% lean rated it more favorably than people whose beef was labelled 25% fat.

In Politics

Linguist and rhetoric scholar George Lakoff argues that, in order to persuade a political audience of one side of an argument or another, the facts must be presented through a rhetorical frame. It is argued that, without the frame, the facts of an argument become lost on an audience, making the argument less effective. The rhetoric of politics uses framing to present the facts surrounding an issue in a way that creates the appearance of a problem at hand that requires a solution. Politicians using framing to make their own solution to an exigence appear to be the most appropriate compared to that of the opposition.[3] Counter-arguments become less effective in persuading an audience once one side has framed an argument, because it is argued that the opposition then has the additional burden of arguing the frame of the issue in addition to the issue itself.

Framing a political issue, a political party or a political opponent is a strategic goal in politics, particularly in the United States of America. Both the Democratic and Republican political parties compete to successfully harness its power of persuasion. According to the New York Times:

Even before the election, a new political word had begun to take hold of the party, beginning on the West Coast and spreading like a virus all the way to the inner offices of the Capitol. That word was 'framing.' Exactly what it means to 'frame' issues seems to depend on which Democrat you are talking to, but everyone agrees that it has to do with choosing the language to define a debate and, more important, with fitting individual issues into the contexts of broader story lines.

— [46]

Because framing has the ability to alter the public's perception, politicians engage in battles to determine how issues are framed. Hence, the way the issues are framed in the media reflects who is winning the battle. For instance, according to Robert Entman, professor of Communication at George Washington University, in the build-up to the Gulf War the conservatives were successful in making the debate whether to attack sooner or later, with no mention of the possibility of not attacking. Since the media picked up on this and also framed the debate in this fashion, the conservatives won.[47]

One particular example of Lakoff's work that attained some degree of fame was his advice to rename[48] trial lawyers (unpopular in the United States) as "public protection attorneys". Though Americans have not generally adopted this suggestion, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America did rename themselves the "American Association of Justice", in what the Chamber of Commerce called an effort to hide their identity.[49]

The New York Times depicted similar intensity among Republicans:

In one recent memo, titled 'The 14 Words Never to Use,' [Frank] Luntz urged conservatives to restrict themselves to phrases from what he calls ... the 'New American Lexicon.' Thus, a smart Republican, in Luntz's view, never advocates 'drilling for oil'; he prefers 'exploring for energy.' He should never criticize the 'government,' which cleans our streets and pays our firemen; he should attack 'Washington,' with its ceaseless thirst for taxes and regulations. 'We should never use the word outsourcing,' Luntz wrote, 'because we will then be asked to defend or end the practice of allowing companies to ship American jobs overseas.'

— [46]

From a political perspective, framing has widespread consequences. For example, the concept of framing links with that of agenda-setting: by consistently invoking a particular frame, the framing party may effectively control discussion and perception of the issue. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber in Trust Us, We're Experts illustrate how public-relations (PR) firms often use language to help frame a given issue, structuring the questions that then subsequently emerge. For example, one firm advises clients to use "bridging language" that uses a strategy of answering questions with specific terms or ideas in order to shift the discourse from an uncomfortable topic to a more comfortable one.[50] Practitioners of this strategy might attempt to draw attention away from one frame in order to focus on another. As Lakoff notes, "On the day that George W. Bush took office, the words "tax relief" started coming out of the White House."[51] By refocusing the structure away from one frame ("tax burden" or "tax responsibilities"), individuals can set the agenda of the questions asked in the future.

Cognitive linguists point to an example of framing in the phrase "tax relief". In this frame, use of the concept "relief" entails a concept of (without mentioning the benefits resulting from) taxes putting strain on the citizen:

The current tax code is full of inequities. Many single moms face higher marginal tax rates than the wealthy. Couples frequently face a higher tax burden after they marry. The majority of Americans cannot deduct their charitable donations. Family farms and businesses are sold to pay the death tax. And the owners of the most successful small businesses share nearly half of their income with the government. President Bush's tax cut will greatly reduce these inequities. It is a fair plan that is designed to provide tax relief to everyone who pays income taxes.

— [52]

Alternative frames may emphasize the concept of taxes as a source of infrastructural support to businesses:

The truth is that the wealthy have received more from America than most Americans—not just wealth but the infrastructure that has allowed them to amass their wealth: banks, the Federal Reserve, the stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the legal system, federally sponsored research, patents, tax supports, the military protection of foreign investments, and much much more. American taxpayers support the infrastructure of wealth accumulation. It is only fair that those who benefit most should pay their fair share.

— [53]

Frames can limit debate by setting the vocabulary and metaphors through which participants can comprehend and discuss an issue. They form a part not just of political discourse, but of cognition. In addition to generating new frames, politically oriented framing research aims to increase public awareness of the connection between framing and reasoning.

Examples

  • The initial response of the Bush administration to the assault of September 11, 2001 was to frame the acts of terror as crime. This framing was replaced within hours by a war metaphor, yielding the "War on Terror". The difference between these two framings is in the implied response. Crime connotes bringing criminals to justice, putting them on trial and sentencing them, whereas as war implies enemy territory, military action and war powers for government.[51][54]
  • The term "escalation" to describe an increase in American troop-levels in Iraq in 2007 implied that the United States deliberately increased the scope of conflict in a provocative manner and possibly implies that U.S. strategy entails a long-term military presence in Iraq, whereas "surge" framing implies a powerful but brief, transitory increase in intensity.[55]
  • The "bad apple" frame, as in the proverb "one bad apple spoils the barrel". This frame implies that removing one underachieving or corrupt official from an institution will solve a given problem; an opposing frame presents the same problem as systematic or structural to the institution itself—a source of infectious and spreading rot.[56]
  • The "taxpayers money" frame, rather than public or government funds, which implies that individual taxpayers have a claim or right to set government policy based upon their payment of tax rather than their status as citizens or voters and that taxpayers have a right to control public funds that are the shared property of all citizens and also privileges individual self-interest above group interest.
  • The "collective property" frame, which implies that property owned by individuals is really owned by a collective in which those individuals are members. This collective can be a territorial one, such as a nation, or an abstract one that does not map to a specific territory.
  • Program-names that may describe only the intended effects of a program but may also imply their effectiveness. These include the following:
    • "Foreign aid"[57] (which implies that spending money will aid foreigners, rather than harm them)
    • "Social security" (which implies that the program can be relied on to provide security for a society)
    • "Stabilisation policy" (which implies that a policy will have a stabilizing effect).
  • Based on opinion polling and focus groups, ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm, has advanced the position that global warming is an ineffective framing due to its identification as a leftist advocacy issue. The organization has suggested to government officials and environmental groups that alternate formulations of the issues would be more effective.[58]
  • In her 2009 book Frames of War, Judith Butler argues that the justification within liberal-democracies for war, and atrocities committed in the course of war, (referring specifically to the current war in Iraq and to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay) entails a framing of the (especially Muslim) 'other' as pre-modern/primitive and ultimately not human in the same way as citizens within the liberal order.[59]

Effectiveness

Framing is so effective because it is an heuristic, or mental shortcut that may not always yield desired results; and is seen as a 'rule of thumb'. According to Susan T. Fiske and Shelley E. Taylor, human beings are by nature "cognitive misers", meaning they prefer to do as little thinking as possible.[60] Frames provide people a quick and easy way to process information. Hence, people will use the previously mentioned mental filters (a series of which is called a schema) to make sense of incoming messages. This gives the sender and framer of the information enormous power to use these schemas to influence how the receivers will interpret the message.[47]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  3. ^ a b van der Pas, D. (2014). "Making Hay While the Sun Shines: Do Parties Only Respond to Media Attention When The Framing is Right?". Journal of Press/Politics. 19 (1): 42–65. doi:10.1177/1940161213508207.
  4. ^ This example borrowed from Clifford Geertz: Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (1983), Basic Books 2000 paperback: ISBN 0-465-04162-0
  5. ^ Goffman offers the example of the woman bidding on a mirror at an auction who first examines the frame and surface for imperfections, and then "checks" herself in the mirror and adjusts her hat. See Goffman, Erving. Frame Analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-930350-91-X, p. 39. In each case the mirror represents more than simply a physical object.
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  34. ^ Kenneth Boulding: The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society, University of Michigan Press, 1956)
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  36. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, "Framing Analysis" in Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in Action, edited by J.A. Kuypers, Lexington Press, 2009. p. 181.
  37. ^ Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in Action
  38. ^ Kuypers, Jim A. "Framing Analysis as a Rhetorical Process," Doing News Framing Analysis. Paul D'Angelo and Jim A. Kuypers, eds. (New York: Routeledge, 2010).
  39. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, Bush's War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2009.
  40. ^ a b In Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, by George Lakoff, 144. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2004.
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  42. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, Bush's War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006),
  43. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, Stephen D. Cooper, Matthew T. Althouse, "George W. Bush, The American Press, and the Initial Framing of the War on Terror after 9/11," The George W. Bush Presidency: A Rhetorical Perspective, Robert E. Denton, ed. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012), 89–112.
  44. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, Stephen D. Cooper, Matthew T. Althouse, "George W. Bush, "The American Press, and the Initial Framing of the War on Terror after 9/11," The George W. Bush Presidency: A Rhetorical Perspective, Robert E. Denton, ed. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012), 105.
  45. ^ Entman, R. M. (1991). "Symposium Framing U.S. Coverage of International News: Contrasts in Narratives of the KAL and Iran Air Incidents". Journal of Communication. 41 (4): 6–27. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1991.tb02328.x.
  46. ^ a b The Framing Wars. New York Times 17 July 2005
  47. ^ a b Entman, Robert "Tree Beard". Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of Communication; Autumn 1993, 43, 4, p. 51
  48. ^ Walter Olson, Overlawyered weblog Archived 2007-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, 2005-07-18
  49. ^ Al Kamen, "Forget Cash – Lobbyists Should Set Support for Lawmakers in Stone", Washington Post, 2007-01-17
  50. ^ Rampton, Sheldon and Stauber, John. Trust Us, We're Experts! Putnam Publishing, New York, NY, 2002. p. 64.
  51. ^ a b Lakoff, George (2004). Don't think of an elephant!: know your values and frame the debate. Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-931498-71-5.
  52. ^ The President's Agenda for Tax Relief retrieved 3 July 2007.
  53. ^ Cognitive Policy Works/Rockridge Institute: Simple Framing
  54. ^ Zhang, Juyan (2007). "Beyond anti-terrorism: Metaphors as message strategy of post-September-11 U.S. public diplomacy". Public Relations Review. 33 (1): 31–39. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2006.11.006.
  55. ^ "It's Escalation, Stupid." Alternet retrieved 3 July 2007
  56. ^ "The Rumsfeld Dilemma: Demand an Exit Strategy, Not a Facelift" by Bruce Budner, in The Huffington Post 15 September 2006
  57. ^ "Is It All in a Word? The Effect of Issue Framing on Public Support for U.S. Spending on HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries." by Sara Bleich. Retrieved 2007-07-03
  58. ^ "Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus" article by John M. Broder in The New York Times May 1, 2009
  59. ^ Butler, J. (2009), Frames of War, London: Verso.
  60. ^ Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (1991). Social cognition (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

Levin, Irwin P., and Gary J. Gaeth. "How Consumers Are Affected By The Framing Of Attribute Information Before And After Consuming The Product." Journal of Consumer Research 15.3 (1988): 374. Print.

Further reading

  • Baars, B. A cognitive theory of consciousness, NY: Cambridge University Press 1988, ISBN 0-521-30133-5.
  • Boulding, Kenneth E. (1956). The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society. Michigan University Press.
  • Carruthers, P. (2003). "On Fodor's Problem". Mind and Language. 18 (5): 502–23. doi:10.1111/1468-0017.00240.
  • Clark, A. (1997), Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Cutting, Hunter and Makani Themba Nixon (2006). Talking the Walk: A Communications Guide for Racial Justice: AK Press
  • Dennett, D. (1978), Brainstorms, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Fairhurst, Gail T. and Sarr, Robert A. 1996. The Art of Framing: Managing the Language of Leadership. Jossey-Bass, Inc.
  • Feldman, Jeffrey. (2007), Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Control the Conversation (and Win Elections). Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing.
  • Fodor, J.A. (1983), The Modularity of Mind, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Fodor, J.A. (1987), "Modules, Frames, Fridgeons, Sleeping Dogs, and the Music of the Spheres", in Pylyshyn (1987).
  • Fodor, J.A. (2000), The Mind Doesn't Work That Way, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Ford, K.M. & Hayes, P.J. (eds.) (1991), Reasoning Agents in a Dynamic World: The Frame Problem, New York: JAI Press.
  • Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. London: Harper and Row.
  • Goffman, E. (1974). Frame Analysis. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Goffman, E. (1959). Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday.
  • Goodman, N. (1954), Fact, Fiction, and Forecast, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Hanks, S.; McDermott, D. (1987). "Nonmonotonic Logic and Temporal Projection". Artificial Intelligence. 33 (3): 379–412. doi:10.1016/0004-3702(87)90043-9.
  • Haselager, W.F.G. (1997). Cognitive science and folk psychology: the right frame of mind. London: Sage
  • Haselager, W.F.G.; Van Rappard, J.F.H. (1998). "Connectionism, Systematicity, and the Frame Problem" (PDF). Minds and Machines. 8 (2): 161–79. doi:10.1023/A:1008281603611.
  • Hayes, P.J. (1991), "Artificial Intelligence Meets David Hume: A Reply to Fetzer", in Ford & Hayes (1991).
  • Heal, J. (1996), "Simulation, Theory, and Content", in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers & P. Smith, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 75–89.
  • Johnson-Cartee, K. (2005). News narrative and news framing: Constructing political reality. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Kendall, Diana, Sociology In Our Times, Thomson Wadsworth, 2005, ISBN 0-534-64629-8 Google Print, p. 531
  • Klandermans, Bert. 1997. The Social Psychology of Protest. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980), Metaphors We Live By, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Leites, N. & Wolf, C., Jr. (1970). Rebellion and authority. Chicago: Markham Publishing Company.
  • Martino, De; Kumaran, D; Seymour, B; Dolan, RJ (2006). "Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain". Science. 313 (5787): 684–87. Bibcode:2006Sci...313..684D. doi:10.1126/science.1128356. PMC 2631940. PMID 16888142.
  • McAdam, D., McCarthy, J., & Zald, M. (1996). Introduction: Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Framing Processes—Toward a Synthetic, Comparative Perspective on Social Movements. In D. McAdam, J. McCarthy & M. Zald (Eds.), Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements; Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings (pp. 1–20). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • McCarthy, J. (1986), "Applications of Circumscription to Formalizing Common Sense Knowledge", Artificial Intelligence, vol. 26(3), pp. 89–116.
  • McCarthy, J. & Hayes, P.J. (1969), "Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of Artificial Intelligence", in Machine Intelligence 4, ed. D.Michie and B.Meltzer, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 463–502.
  • McDermott, D. (1987), "We've Been Framed: Or Why AI Is Innocent of the Frame Problem", in Pylyshyn (1987).
  • Mithen, S. (1987), The Prehistory of the Mind, London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Nelson, T. E.; Oxley, Z. M.; Clawson, R. A. (1997). "Toward a psychology of framing effects". Political Behavior. 19 (3): 221–46. doi:10.1023/A:1024834831093.
  • Pan, Z.; Kosicki, G. M. (1993). "Framing analysis: An approach to news discourse". Political Communication. 10 (1): 55–75. doi:10.1080/10584609.1993.9962963.
  • Pan. Z. & Kosicki, G. M. (2001). Framing as a strategic action in public deliberation. In S. D. Reese, O. H. Gandy, Jr., & A. E. Grant (Eds.), Framing public life: Perspectives on media and our understanding of the social world, (pp. 35–66). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Pan, Z. & Kosicki, G. M. (2005). Framing and the understanding of citizenship. In S. Dunwoody, L. B. Becker, D. McLeod, & G. M. Kosicki (Eds.), Evolution of key mass communication concepts, (pp. 165–204). New York: Hampton Press.
  • Pylyshyn, Zenon W. (ed.) (1987), The Robot's Dilemma: The Frame Problem in Artificial Intelligence, Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Stephen D. Reese, Oscar H. Gandy and August E. Grant. (2001). Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World. Maywah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN 978-0-8058-3653-0
  • Russell, S. & Wefald, E. (1991), Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Scheufele, DA; Dietram, A. (1999). "Framing as a theory of media effects". Journal of Communication. 49 (1): 103–22. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1999.tb02784.x.
  • Shanahan, Murray P. (1997), Solving the Frame Problem: A Mathematical Investigation of the Common Sense Law of Inertia, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-19384-1
  • Shanahan, Murray P. (2003), "The Frame Problem", in The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, ed. L.Nadel, Macmillan, pp. 144–50.
  • Simon, Herbert (1957), Models of Man, Social and Rational: Mathematical Essays on Rational Human Behavior in a Social Setting, New York: John Wiley. OCLC 165735
  • Snow, D. A.; Benford, R. D. (1988). "Ideology, frame resonance, and participant mobilization". International Social Movement Research. 1: 197–217.
  • Snow, D. A.; Rochford, E. B.; Worden, S. K.; Benford, R. D. (1986). "Frame alignment processes, micromobilization, and movement participation". American Sociological Review. 51 (4): 464–81. doi:10.2307/2095581. JSTOR 2095581.
  • Sperber, D.; Wilson, D. (1996). "Fodor's Frame Problem and Relevance Theory". Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 19 (3): 530–32. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00082030.
  • Tarrow, S. (1983a). "Struggling to Reform: social Movements and policy change during cycles of protest". Western Societies Paper No. 15. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.
  • Tarrow, S. (1983b). "Resource mobilization and cycles of protest: Theoretical reflections and comparative illustrations". Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Detroit, August 31–September 4.
  • Triandafyllidou, A. and Fotiou, A. (1998), "Sustainability and Modernity in the European Union: A Frame Theory Approach to Policy-Making", Sociological Research Online, vol. 3, no. 1.
  • Tilly, C., Tilly, L., & Tilly, R. (1975). The rebellious century, 1830–1930. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Turner, R. H., & Killian, L. M. (1972). Collective Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions", A.Tversky, D.Kahneman, Journal of Business, 1986, vol. 59, no. 4, pt. 2.
  • Wilkerson, W.S. (2001). "Simulation, Theory, and the Frame Problem". Philosophical Psychology. 14 (2): 141–53. doi:10.1080/09515080120051535.
  • Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Social Grounds of Knowledge Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 199

External links

Agenda-setting theory

Agenda-setting theory describes the "ability (of the news media) to influence the importance placed on the topics of the public agenda". With agenda setting being a social science theory, it also attempts to make predictions. That is, if a news item is covered frequently and prominently, the audience will regard the issue as more important. Agenda-setting theory was formally developed by Max McCombs and Donald Shaw in a study on the 1968 American presidential election. In the 1968 "Chapel Hill study", McCombs and Shaw demonstrated a strong correlation coefficient (r > .9) between what 100 residents of Chapel Hill, North Carolina thought was the most important election issue and what the local and national news media reported was the most important issue. By comparing the salience of issues in news content with the public's perceptions of the most important election issue, McCombs and Shaw were able to determine the degree to which the media determines public opinion. Since the 1968 study, published in a 1972 edition of Public Opinion Quarterly, more than 400 studies have been published on the agenda-setting function of the mass media, and the theory continues to be regarded as relevant.

Studies have shown that what the media decides to expose in certain countries correlates with their views on things such as politics, economy and culture. Countries that tend to have more political power are more likely to receive media exposure. Financial resources, technologies, foreign trade and money spent on the military can be some of the main factors that explain coverage inequality.Agenda-setting can be traced to the first chapter of Walter Lippmann's 1922 book, Public Opinion. In that chapter, "The World Outside And The Pictures In Our Heads", Lippmann argues that the mass media are the principal connection between events in the world and the images in the minds of the public. Without using the term "agenda-setting", Walter Lippmann was writing about what we today would call "agenda-setting". Following Lippmann, in 1963, Bernard Cohen observed that the press "may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. The world will look different to different people," Cohen continues, "depending on the map that is drawn for them by writers, editors, and publishers of the paper they read." As early as the 1960s, Cohen had expressed the idea that later led to formalization of agenda-setting theory by McCombs and Shaw. The stories with the strongest agenda setting influence tend to be those that involve conflict, terrorism, crime and drug issues within the United States. Those that don't include or involve the United State and politics associate negatively with public opinion. In turn, there is less concern.

Although Maxwell McCombs already had some interest in the field, he was exposed to Cohen's work while serving as a faculty member at UCLA, and it was Cohen's work that heavily influenced him, and later Donald Shaw. The concept of agenda setting was launched by McCombs and Shaw during the 1968 presidential election in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They examined Lippmann's idea of construction of the pictures in our heads by comparing the issues on the media agenda with key issues on the undecided voters' agenda. They found evidence of agenda setting by identifying that salience of the news agenda is highly correlated to that of the voters' agenda. McCombs and Shaw were the first to provide the field of communication with empirical evidence that demonstrated the power of mass media and its influence on the public agenda. The empirical evidence also earned this theory its credibility amongst other social scientific theories.A relatively unknown scholar named G. Ray Funkhouser performed a study highly similar to McCombs and Shaw's around the same time the authors were formalizing the theory. All three scholars – McCombs, Shaw, and Funkhouser – even presented their findings at the same academic conference. Funkhouser's article was published later than McCombs and Shaw's, and Funkhouser doesn't receive as much credit as McCombs and Shaw for discovering agenda setting. According to Everett Rogers, there are two main reasons for this. First, Funkhouser didn't formally name the theory. Second, Funkhouser didn't pursue his research much past the initial article. Rogers also suggests that Funkhouser was geographically isolated at Stanford, cut off from interested researchers, whereas McCombs and Shaw had got other people interested in agenda setting research.

Code word (figure of speech)

A code word is a word or a phrase designed to convey a predetermined meaning to a receptive audience, while remaining inconspicuous to the uninitiated. For example, a public address system may be used to make an announcement asking for "Inspector Sands" to attend a particular area, which staff will recognise as a code word for a fire or bomb threat, and the general public will ignore.

Cultural bias

Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one's own culture. The phenomenon is sometimes considered a problem central to social and human sciences, such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. Some practitioners of the aforementioned fields have attempted to develop methods and theories to compensate for or eliminate cultural bias.

Cultural bias occurs when people of a culture make assumptions about conventions, including conventions of language, notation, proof and evidence. They are then accused of mistaking these assumptions for laws of logic or nature. Numerous such biases exist, concerning cultural norms for color, mate selection, concepts of justice, linguistic and logical validity, the acceptability of evidence, and taboos.

Experientialism

Experientialism is the philosophical theory that experience is the source of knowledge. It was originally formulated by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and its first widely known formulation is to be found in the book Metaphors We Live By.

In Women, Fire and Dangerous Things, Lakoff has expanded on the foundation of experientialism by his research into the nature of categories.

Frameup

In the United States criminal law, a frame-up (frameup) or setup is the act of framing someone, that is, providing false evidence or false testimony in order to falsely prove someone guilty of a crime. While incriminating those who are innocent might be done out of sheer malice, framing is primarily used as a distraction.

Generally, the person who is framing someone else is the actual perpetrator of the crime. In other cases it is an attempt by law enforcement to get around due process. Motives include getting rid of political dissidents or "correcting" what they see as the court's mistake. Some lawbreakers will try to claim they were framed as a defense strategy.

Frameups in labor disputes sometimes swing public opinion one way or the other. In Massachusetts, during the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, police acting on a tip discovered dynamite and blamed it on the union. National media echoed an anti-union message. Later, the police revealed that the dynamite had been wrapped in a magazine addressed to the son of the former mayor. The man had received an unexplained payment from the largest of the employers. Exposed, the plot swung public sympathy to the union.Frameups are often part of conspiracy theories. For example, there were frameup accusations in the anthrax incident involving the United States Postal Service.A frameup where a police officer shoots an unarmed suspect and then places a weapon near the body is a form of police misconduct known as a "throw down" used to justify the shooting.In British usage, to frame, or stitch up, is to maliciously or dishonestly incriminate someone or set them up, in the sense trap or ensnare.

Framing

Framing may refer to:

Framing (construction), common carpentry work

Framing (law), providing false evidence or testimony to prove someone guilty of a crime

Framing (social sciences)

Framing (visual arts), a technique used to bring the focus to the subject

Framing (World Wide Web), a technique using multiple panes within a web page

Hallin's spheres

Hallin's spheres is a theory of media objectivity posited by journalism historian Daniel C. Hallin in his book The Uncensored War (1986) to explain the coverage of the Vietnam war. Hallin divides the world of political discourse into three concentric spheres: consensus, legitimate controversy, and deviance. In the sphere of consensus, journalists assume everyone agrees. The sphere of legitimate controversy includes the standard political debates, and journalists are expected to remain neutral. The sphere of deviance falls outside the bounds of legitimate debate, and journalists can ignore it. These boundaries shift, as public opinion shifts.Hallin's spheres, which deals with the media, are similar to the Overton window, which deals with public opinion generally, and posits a sliding scale of public opinion on any given issue ranging from conventional wisdom to unacceptable.

Hallin used the concept of framing to describe the presentation and reception of issues in public. For example, framing the use of drugs as criminal activity can encourage the public to consider that behavior anti-social. Hallin also used the concept of an opinion corridor, in which the range of public opinion narrows, and opinion outside that corridor moves from legitimate controversy into deviance.

Hostile media effect

The hostile media effect, originally deemed the hostile media phenomenon and sometimes called hostile media perception, is a perceptual theory of mass communication that refers to the tendency for individuals with a strong preexisting attitude on an issue to perceive media coverage as biased against their side and in favor of their antagonists' point of view. Partisans from opposite sides of an issue will tend to find the same coverage to be biased against them. The phenomenon was first proposed and studied experimentally by Robert Vallone, Lee Ross and Mark Lepper.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

"Is the glass half empty or half full?" is a common expression, a proverbial phrase, generally used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for Pessimism (half empty) or Optimism (half full), or as a general litmus test to simply determine an individual's worldview. The purpose of the question is to demonstrate that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on one's point of view and that there may be opportunity in the situation as well as trouble.

Another perspective comes from psychology, where research has shown that a speaker's choice of frame can reflect their knowledge of the environment, and that listeners can be sensitive to this information.

News aggregator

In computing, a news aggregator, also termed a feed aggregator, feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply aggregator, is client software or a web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) in one location for easy viewing. RSS is a synchronized subscription system. RSS uses extensible markup language (XML) to structure pieces of information to be aggregated in a feed reader that displays the information in a user-friendly interface. The updates distributed may include journal tables of contents, podcasts, videos, and news items.

Persuasive definition

A persuasive definition is a form of stipulative definition which purports to describe the "true" or "commonly accepted" meaning of a term, while in reality stipulating an uncommon or altered use, usually to support an argument for some view, or to create or alter rights, duties or crimes.

The terms thus defined will often involve emotionally charged but imprecise notions, such as "freedom", "terrorism", "democracy", etc. In argumentation the use of a persuasive definition is sometimes called definist fallacy. (The latter sometimes more broadly refers to a fallacy of a definition based on improper identification of two distinct properties.)Examples of persuasive definitions (definist fallacies) include:

Democrat – "a leftist who desires to overtax the corporations and abolish freedom in the economic sphere".

"Let's define atheist as someone who doesn't yet realize that God exists."Persuasive definitions commonly appear in controversial topics such as politics, sex, and religion, as participants in emotionally charged exchanges will sometimes become more concerned about swaying people to one side or another than expressing the unbiased facts. A persuasive definition of a term is favorable to one argument or unfavorable to the other argument, but is presented as if it were neutral and well-accepted, and the listener is expected to accept such a definition without question.The term "persuasive definition" was introduced by philosopher Charles Stevenson as part of his emotive theory of meaning.

Poisoning the well

Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a type of informal logical fallacy where irrelevant adverse information about a target is preemptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing something that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well can be a special case of argumentum ad hominem, and the term was first used with this sense by John Henry Newman in his work Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864). The origin of the term lies in well poisoning, an ancient wartime practice of pouring poison into sources of fresh water before an invading army, to diminish the attacking army's strength.

Prospect theory

Prospect theory is a theory in cognitive psychology that describes the way people choose between probabilistic alternatives that involve risk, where the probabilities of outcomes are uncertain. The theory states that people make decisions based on the potential value of losses and gains rather than the final outcome, and that people evaluate these losses and gains using some heuristics. The model is descriptive: it tries to model real-life choices, rather than optimal decisions, as normative models do.

The theory was created in 1979 and developed in 1992 by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky as a psychologically more accurate description of decision making, compared to the expected utility theory. In the original formulation, the term prospect referred to a lottery. The paper "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk" (1979) has been called a "seminal paper in behavioral economics".

Racial bias in criminal news in the United States

While White perpetrators are routinely referred to by race, blacks are referred to as "teens" as often as possible. Follow up reports on white perpetrators is more common (duplicating the perceived volume) vs. blacks, whose acts often aren't even reported. Certainly, the most heinous of crimes are systematically omitted from the media in an effort to 'rehabilitate' the public's perception of blacks. Black on black crime is orders of magnitude more frequent than any other population. The criminality of "Whites" will routinely show data which includes those crimes of hispanics in order to reduce the disparity between black and white crime rates. Further, the interracial crime rates of black-on-white crime is 2-3x higher than the reverse, despite google and youtube's tendency to produce results of the minor statistic (white-on-black).INTERRACIAL CRIME BETWEEN STRANGERS Figures 20a - 20b indicate black homicidality against white victims -- especially whites who're strangers to their assailant. The attempts to undermine the gift of fear applied to the most lethal population in the United States and World is unethical as it is completely justified; not a bias.

One third of black males are convicted felons, which is consistent with victim statements. There is no indices that victims of violent crimes would deliberately lie about the race of their assailant solely to bias crime-statistics. Though all races generally commit violence against the population to which they're a member, blacks are the primary aggressor in interracial crime statistics. Though there is no 'white equivalent' to 'The Knockout Game' blacks are rarely charged with hate crimes. It's believed by many that the disparate sentencing policies in which the harsh hate-crime sentencing is unevenly applied is a byproduct of media bias.

Racial biases are a form of implicit bias, which refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect an individual's understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass unfavorable assessments, are often activated involuntarily and without the awareness or intentional control of the individual (Though these conspiratorial claims are unfalsifiable, which are the only type that can mitigate the claims that 'TEENS' aren't nearly as dangerous as the numbers indicate). Residing deep in the subconscious -- [as in, unfalsifiable and anti-scientific], these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness (similar to the idea of falling from 'heights' makes us prejudiced against gravity). Police officers come from all walks of life and they too have implicit bias (which is why black cops shoot blacks more quickly than white cops), regardless of their ethnicity. Racial bias in criminal news reporting in the United States is a manifestation of this bias.

Social environment

The social environment, social context, sociocultural context or milieu refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture that the individual was educated or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom they interact.The physical and social environment is a determining factor in active and healthy aging in place, being a central factor in the study of environmental gerontology.The interaction may be in person or through communication media, even anonymous or one-way, and may not imply equality of social status. Therefore, the social environment is a broader concept than that of social class or social circle.

Spin (propaganda)

In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through knowingly

providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.Because of the frequent association between spin and press conferences (especially government press conferences), the room in which these conferences take place is sometimes described as a "spin room". Public relations advisors, pollsters and media consultants who develop deceptive or misleading messages may be referred to as "spin doctors" or "spinmeisters".

As such, a standard tactic used in "spinning" is to reframe, obfuscate, reposition, or otherwise modify the perception of an issue or event, to reduce any negative impact it might have on public opinion. For example, a company whose top-selling product is found to have a significant safety problem may "reframe" the issue by criticizing the safety of its main competitor's products or indeed by highlighting the risk associated with the entire product category. This might be done using a "catchy" slogan or sound bite that can help to persuade the public of the company's biased point of view. This tactic could enable the company to defocus the public's attention on the negative aspects of its product.As it takes experience and training to "spin" an issue, spinning is typically a service provided by paid media advisors and media consultants. The largest and most powerful companies may have in-house employees and sophisticated units with expertise in spinning issues. While spin is often considered to be a private sector tactic, in the 1990s and 2000s, some politicians and political staff have been accused by their opponents of using deceptive "spin" tactics to manipulate public opinion or deceive the public. Spin approaches used by some political teams include "burying" potentially negative new information by releasing it at the end of the workday on the last day before a long weekend; selectively cherry-picking quotes from previous speeches made by their employer or an opposing politician to give the impression that they advocate a certain position; and purposely leaking misinformation about an opposing politician or candidate that casts them in a negative light.

Systemic bias

Systemic bias, also called institutional bias, is the inherent tendency of a process to support particular outcomes. The term generally refers to human systems such as institutions; the equivalent bias in non-human systems (such as measurement instruments or mathematical models used to estimate physical quantities) is often called systematic bias, and leads to systematic error in measurements or estimates. The issues of systemic bias are dealt with extensively in the field of industrial organization economics.

Talking point

A talking point in discourse is a succinct statement designed to support persuasively one side taken on an issue. Such statements can either be free standing or created as retorts to the opposition's talking points and are frequently used in public relations, particularly in areas heavy in debate such as politics and marketing.

The framing of political discourse in terms of simple talking points has been criticized by media personalities such as comedian Jon Stewart for being a superficial examination of issues.

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