Explaining election frames: A content analysis of twelve newspapers in the 2011 Irish general election
McMenamin, Iain and Flynn, Roderick and O'Malley, Eoin and Rafter, Kevin (2012) Explaining election frames: A content analysis of twelve newspapers in the 2011 Irish general election. Working Papers in International Studies Series. (Paper No. 3). Dublin City University, Dublin.
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The framing of elections represents the most overt instance of the media’s power to influence politics. We content analysed twelve newspapers’ coverage of the 2011 general election in Ireland. Ireland’s newspaper market has some special advantages for social scientists, as it allows us to separate the newspaper types/formats (tabloid versus broadsheet) from their commercial basis (vulnerability or otherwise to short-term sales and profits). Therefore, we are able to make a particular contribution to the long-standing debate about the interaction of free market capitalism and the media. Our results do not find a homogeneous general election frame in Ireland. The variation in framing across Irish newspapers was much greater than that between the five countries for which we can find strictly comparable results. The different commercial statuses of the newspapers do seem to be related to different dominant frames of election coverage, but only after we develop a new measure which takes account of the relative overall prominence of election coverage in the newspapers examined.
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