How News Frames Prime Non-Whites as Social Problems

Travis L Dixon, Erica Bauer, Christopher S. Josey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Framing is often conceptualized as two different phenomena. One is associated with mediated content. The media use frames to tell stories, especially those stories dealing with public affairs. The other form that framing takes is embodied in framing effects, which centers on the idea that how a topic is contextualized shapes our thoughts and attitudes toward the topic. Framing effects are often linked to priming, the notion that how we think about and react to a person, issue, or event is shaped by prior exposure to a mediated stimulus. This chapter focuses on how news frames are often used to describe public policy in such a way that those issues become tied to racial/ethnic identities. In particular, we will report on a number of studies suggesting that criminal behavior is often framed in the news media as having a racialized component. Namely, criminals are framed as Black while officers are framed as White; also, immigrants are framed as Latino and terrorists are framed as Muslim. In this sense, news frames promote—and prime people to believe—the malfeasance of non-White groups as the root cause of terrorism, crime, and immigration. The chapter explores how these frames are powerful message primes that serve to shape thoughts and attitudes on the part of audience members. In order to demonstrate how framing and priming work in tandem, this chapter will report on a study in which simply discussing the issue of terrorism or crime conjures notions of Black criminals and Muslim terrorists. I conclude that major issues of framing and public policy are difficult to divorce from the notion of group identity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDoing News Framing Analysis II
Subtitle of host publicationEmpirical and Theoretical Perspectives
EditorsPaul D'Angelo
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter15
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315642239
ISBN (Print)9781138188549, 9781138188556
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2018

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