Strategic Media, Cynical Public? Examining the Contingent Effects of Strategic News Frames on Political Cynicism in the UK

Authors: Jackson, D.

Journal: The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics

Volume: 16

Pages: 75-101

ISSN: 1081-180X

DOI: 10.1177/1940161210381647


Through the use of experimental methods, this study examines the claim that strategic news engenders political cynicism. Firstly, it builds upon previous theory by conceptualising and measuring political cynicism at both issue-specific and global levels. Secondly, the contingency of framing effects is a contested but crucial area of the framing paradigm, and deserves greater attention in strategic framing studies. The study therefore examines this in detail by testing a number of individual characteristics for their moderating effects. I found that relative to issue-based coverage, strategic news frames increased issue-specific political cynicism, but this effect was only evident for those who were less politically engaged and knowledgeable. The effects of the strategy frame on more global measures of political cynicism were minimal. The findings are discussed in the light of ongoing debates about framing effects and the media’s role in democratic engagement.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Dan Jackson