Framing of the 2003 U.S.-Iraq War Demonstrations: An Analysis of News and Partisan Texts

By Luther, Catherine A.; Miller, M. Mark | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Framing of the 2003 U.S.-Iraq War Demonstrations: An Analysis of News and Partisan Texts


Luther, Catherine A., Miller, M. Mark, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


This study examines press coverage of pro- and anti-war demonstrations before and during the 2003 U.S.-led Iraq war. Computer analysis revealed the existence of partisan master frames in texts by pro- and anti-war organizational groups, and that news articles about each group reflected the frames of the group in question more so than the opposing group's frames. An examination of cues of legitimization and delegitimization in the news articles showed that cue words of delegitimization were used more in anti-war articles than in pro-war articles.

When the United States commenced its war with Iraq in March of 2003, it did so without the international support it had received in its first war with Iraq in 1991. Only a few close U.S. allies were willing to send troops to form a coalition force against Saddam Hussein's regime. The military move by the United States also met opposition from segments of the population in the United States. As the voices of opposition heightened, however, so too did the voices of support. In cities across the United States, pro-war rallies were often strategically held at locations where anti-war protests were being staged. Frequently covering these opposing demonstrations were members of the media.

In a special Time magazine issue on the war with Iraq, a story pertaining to the anti-war protests that were being held following the initial aerial attack on Baghdad begins by describing a demonstration in San Francisco with the following words in its lead paragraph:

Here's how they fared by the Bay: 40 intersections shut down by human blockades. Hay bales set on fire in the streets around the Transamerica Building. Police-car windows smashed all over town. A vomit-in by a small group at the base of the Federal Building to demonstrate that the war made them sick. 1,350 arrests-the highest one-day total in the history of the city-and a police plea for motorists to stay away from downtown. "Absolute anarchy," was how San Francisco assistant police chief Alex Fagan put it.1

Indeed, "anarchy" and chaos are vividly conveyed in this opening paragraph. Are such negative frames similar to those contained in other mainstream news stories concerning demonstrations against the U.S.-led war with Iraq? What frames were consistently used in reference to the pro-war demonstrations? This study's primary purposes were to examine the type of news frames associated with the anti-war and pro-war demonstrations held in the United States, to analyze the extent to which those frames corresponded with the frames expressed by the anti-war and pro-war organizations, and to investigate the degree to which the press characterized protests as legitimate or illegitimate.

Framing and Protest Movements

Many scholars2 interested in studying news production and news discourse have explored the notion that journalists rely on "framing" to generate news stories. According to these scholars, journalists do strive to report news objectively, but in an effort to quickly comprehend and organize news material in a systematic and efficient manner, they tend to engage in a process of framing. In constructing frames, journalists simplify, highlight, and make more salient certain aspects of reality, while obscuring others.

When certain frames are consistently adopted, they become a part of the news repertoires and are elevated to thematic levels. Researchers using framing analysis have acknowledged that power relations are often reflected in such adopted frames. Ryan, Carragee, and Meinholder, in their work on news media framing of collective action, wrote that journalistic frames are "influenced by the frames sponsored by multiple social actors, including corporate and political elites, advocates, and social movements," and that the news stories "become a forum for framing contests in which these actors compete in sponsoring their definitions of political issues." The authors assert, however, that even with such varied potential influences, "given the practices of American journalism and the significance of resources in the successful sponsoring of frames, framing contests favor political and economic elites. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Framing of the 2003 U.S.-Iraq War Demonstrations: An Analysis of News and Partisan Texts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.