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Media Framing of a Civil Liberties Conflict and Its Effect on Tolerance

  • Thomas E. Nelson (a1), Rosalee A. Clawson (a2) and Zoe M. Oxley (a1)
Abstract

Framing is the process by which a communication source, such as a news organization, defines and constructs a political issue or public controversy. Two experiments examined the effect of news frames on tolerance for the Ku Klux Klan. The first presented research participants with one of two local news stories about a Klan rally that varied by frame: One framed the rally as a free speech issue, and the other framed it as a disruption of public order. Participants who viewed the free speech story expressed more tolerance for the Klan than participants who watched the public order story. Additional data indicate that frames affect tolerance by altering the perceived importance of public order values. The relative accessibility of free speech and public order concepts did not respond to framing. A second experiment used a simulated electronic news service to present different frames and replicated these findings.

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American Political Science Review
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