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PRIMING AND FRAMING EFFECTS IN THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE 2009 ROMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Nicoleta Corbu () and Mădălina Boţan
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Nicoleta Corbu: Center for Research in Communication, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania;

Revista Romana de Sociologie, 2013, vol. 5-6, 499-513

Abstract: Romanian democracy, newly born after the 1989 events, has a rather short electoral confrontation tradition. In this context, the media coverage of the 2009 presidential election has a conflict specificity never expressed to this extent. One of the main actors of the public sphere, the media, seems to have changed election patterns, in terms of emotionality and partisanship. This paper presents a content analysis of the main newscasts of five Romanian TV channels: the public television, TVR1, and the most viewed private channels, ProTV and Antena 1, plus the two most viewed private channels specialized in news broadcasting, Realitatea TV and Antena 3, throughout the entire election campaign in October-December 2009. The theoretical background of the research is the agenda setting function of the media, with a focus on the framing and priming effects. Even though these effects have been long studied before, little is known about them in election campaigns in emergent European democracies. We analyze three types of frames, conflict, economic consequences and morality in political news, and we argue for a priming effect related to the character of each of the three main candidates, from two distinct perspectives: competence and integrity. We show a prominence of the conflict frame, even though the economic global context would argue for a dominant economic frame. The construction of priming effect premises is investigated by presenting the visibility of the attributes of the three main candidates in what concerns their competence and integrity. Research has showed that such attributes are under-represented in political news, in the general context of an emotional, irrational election campaign.

Keywords: framing; priming; presidential elections; conflict; election campaign. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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