Moral Issues, Framing, and Media: The 2004 Presidential Election Campaign and the ‘Moral Divide’ (with Denise St. Clair, Yphtach Lelkes, Carly Yuenger, Patrick Peczerski, Jerilyn Teo, Susanne Ress, and Seung-Hyun Lee), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference - Mass Communication and Society Division: Top 3 Featured Panel, August 2006.
Despite all that was facing the U.S. at home and abroad during the 2004 Presidential Election campaign, many voters noted moral issues as most important in their voting decisions. As such, this paper asks: How prominent were moral issues – specifically, same-sex marriage and abortion – in domestic and international news coverage of the campaign, and how were these issues presented in the media? To answer this, we examine the composition of the coverage through content analysis, and conduct a textual analysis informed by the theories of value-framing and the politics of framing put forth by George Lakoff. We find that the agendas of the media and of voters differed substantially—moral issues were far from the most prominently covered issues in the media. However, when covered, the media presented moral issue debates in terms of right and wrong, effectively removing these issues from the realm of true public debate.
Media and the 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Case of New York Times Coverage (with Abhiyan Humane, Carly Yuenger, Daniel Gartenberg, and Porismita Borah), AEJMC Conference - Newspaper Division, August 2007.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the composition and variation in a set of standard characteristics of media coverage of the 2004 presidential election by The New York Times, within the campaign period of July 26, 2004 (DNC) and Nov. 5, 2004 (day after election). Most studies analyzing media coverage generalize their results to the period of the entire campaign. However, this assumes invariance of a campaign and static media coverage. Emphasizing the interaction between the campaign and media coverage, our results indicate that media coverage of issues (national, foreign policy, and campaign issues) varies considerably during the course of campaign. The evidence also suggests that the sources, article type, and tone of the coverage of the Times fluctuate with the course of the campaign.