Drama and framing Applying a Burkean perspective to the cynicism of political reporting

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Description: To better understand the relationship between the strategy frame in political reporting and cynicism among the electorate, the rhetorical theory of Burke's dramatism is used to guide a quantitative content analysis and experiment. While this may seem an unusual fit between theory and method, extending Burke's theory revealed differences in the impact of types of reporting on cynicism. Following a content analysis, which indicated the vague treatment of scene, an experiment demonstrated participants who read strategically framed, national and state scene centered articles from coverage of a mayoral election showed the lowest level of cynicism among four groups. The results establish that politicians' motivations are constituted as selfish when act and agent are pronounced and less selfish when a larger scene is the focus, leading to more or less cynicism. The importance of adding theory to this literature and stressing the constitutive nature of language in media effects is emphasized.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work