Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2008


In this essay, we provide a brief overview of how frames work, discuss the relationship of frames to the news media, and perform a qualitatively based, comparative framing analysis of President Bush’s speech to the United Nations and the mainstream American press response that followed. Findings suggest that by the end of formal military operations in Afghanistan, the press was increasingly framing its reports in such a way that President Bush’s public statements were inaccurately transmitted to the public at large. Three key findings are advanced: one, the press depicted the Bush administration as an enemy of civil liberties; two, hard news stories echoed the positions generated by editorials and opinion essays; three, as early as eight weeks after 9/11, the press was actively contesting the meaning of the War on Terror. Also discussed is the nature of the War on Terror as a master frame.


This article first appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of The American Communication Journal, and is reprinted with permission. © 2008 American Communication Journal.

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