A historical framing analysis of liberalism in the U.S. Press (1978-2002)
While roughly half of American citizens continue to claim allegiance to the Democratic Party, there is a widely-held belief that ëliberalismí itself has seen a strong ideological denigration. This research examined 586 articles from newspapers (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times), predominant news magazines (Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report) and ideologically-focused news magazines (The Nation and National Review) from 1978 to 2002 to determine if this ideological denigration exists in the press. It was found that liberalism was less likely to be framed positively than negatively in media coverage and was significantly less likely to be associated with positive attributes, such as humanitarianism, egalitarianism and democratic beliefs than with negative attributes, such as regulation, permissiveness, prodÈnte beliefs, multinationalism and centralism. It is suggested that the impact of this shift could be having profound impact on policy, ideological identification and the range of permissable debate available in our present American democracy. Further, such bias in coverage complicates the notion of an objective press.