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The politicians, the press and the people: the contested dynamic of framing Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan

DeCillia, C. Brooks (2017) The politicians, the press and the people: the contested dynamic of framing Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.n30tyxky8n3k

Abstract

This research’s classic content analysis (n = 900) critically investigates the mediated dynamic of framing Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan between 2006-2011. This study found that while journalists overwhelmingly indexed their stories to elite sources, they frequently fact checked the media frames sponsored by government and military leaders. Journalists used elite criteria to evaluate and critique the media frames sponsored by military and government leaders. Most of the coverage of the conflict was hegemonic, episodic and event-oriented rather than thematic and contextual. While Canadian journalists frequently fact checked official claims of improving security, for instance, the news media’s coverage of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan lacked broader critical appraisal. The abundance of fact checking by news professionals did not challenge hegemonic interpretations about the war, the military and Canadian foreign policy, raising questions about journalism’s normative role in Canadian democracy. This research also presents the findings of a population-based survey experiment (n = 1,131) aimed at testing the potential influence of fact checking and media discourse surrounding the news coverage of Afghanistan. This experiment found no statistically significant influence of fact checking on news consumers, suggesting journalists may wish to re-think how they challenge the media messages of officials. This study argues that the news media’s practice of fact checking – coupled with an abundance of episodic coverage – does not offer audiences sufficient information to make considered decisions about issues and events. This research found that Canadians’ attitudes about their country’s military role in Afghanistan are best understood as a confluence of media discourse, popular wisdom and experiential knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 C. Brooks DeCillia
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Cammaerts, Bart and Beckett, Charlie
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3708

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