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An Examination of Broadcast News Coverage Depicting Images of War: Description, Effects, and Possible Antidote Department of Defense Joint Communications.

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Presentation on theme: "An Examination of Broadcast News Coverage Depicting Images of War: Description, Effects, and Possible Antidote Department of Defense Joint Communications."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Examination of Broadcast News Coverage Depicting Images of War: Description, Effects, and Possible Antidote Department of Defense Joint Communications Course 06-C

2 Agenda Introduction Literature Review Methods Results Discussion Conclusion

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4 Literature Review Agenda

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11 Literature Review

12 DOD Policy DOD Directive 5122.5 Assistant Department of Defense for Public Affairs and Army Regulation 360-1 “Open and independent reporting.” “…Common sense, good taste and awareness of safety and security concerns.” “…effect …on families and friends.”

13 Literature Review Public Opinion Casualty Aversion - N umber of casualties American people will support - Assumption numbers will lower in the “right” circumstances Casualty Shyness - Military can fight wars without support of American people - Images of body bags

14 Literature Review Content Analysis RQ1: What is the content focus of broadcast news from Iraq? RQ2: To what degree do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq manifest objective reporting or opinion? RQ3: What is the overall tone of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq?

15 Literature Review RQ4: How often do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties? Are the casualties U.S. forces, Iraqi forces, or Iraqi civilians? RQ5: When broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties do they also include reports of U.S. public opinion about continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq?

16 Literature Review News coverage - framing Framing is how journalists present their stories and, in the process, give the stories meaning (Kosicki, 2003) Thematic vs episodic - Episodic framing seeks to personalize issues, whereas, thematic framing presents collective or general evidence about issues. (Iyengar, 1991) RQ6: Do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq employ more episodic or thematic framing?

17 Literature Review Impact of War Coverage Affect and Emotion Anderson and Guerrero (2005) –Affect is the general valence of an emotional state. –Emotion is response to stimulus. Nabi (2003)“Pictures have an unquestioned capacity to arouse emotions and such arousal might influence attitudes directly or indirectly by impacting message processing” Strivers (1994) Images appeal to human beings on an emotional level and posited that the more vibrant and exciting, the larger the effect.

18 Literature Review Impact of War Coverage CEST (Epstein and Pacini, 2001) In CEST, the processing of news stories that feature footage of combat operations will be more experientially processed by viewers than those without footage. People experience reality based upon what they see or hear. Visualization is consistent with the view of CEST in that the experiential system encodes events primarily imagistically. To the extent this is true, imagine experience functions in the experiential system in a similar manner as real experience.

19 Literature Review Impact of War Coverage Cognitive Experiential Self Theory (CEST) RQ7: How do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of U.S. versus Iraqi combat differ in how they are processed by viewers? H1: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories featuring footage of Iraqi combat. H2: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat are processed more experientially by viewers than stories without footage of combat.

20 Literature Literature Review Influence of War Images Graber (1987) “The perceived realism of visuals lends them credibility. Seeing is believing” H3: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat exert greater negative influence on viewer support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq more than stories without footage

21 Literature Review Inoculation The theory posits that when individuals are presented with weak arguments against one of their beliefs, they will be able to fight off that attack and subsequent attacks. If beliefs should be attacked, the individual will develop or bolster their “immune system”, which contains arguments and strategies to counter future attacks on attitudes. Medical analogy: Smallpox vaccine helps your body develop resistance to the virus itself.

22 Literature Review Inoculation (cont.) McGuire (1961) H4: Inoculation pretreatments reduce the negative affective and attitudinal influences of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat. H5: Compared to print inoculation messages, print plus visual inoculation pretreatments are more effective in reducing the negative affective and attitudinal influence of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.

23 Methods

24 Purpose Examine the broadcast news visuals of war. Utilized to determine overall war broadcast news coverage tone Experiment was conducted to examine the impact of broadcast news footage of combat and to see if inoculation is an effective antidote to the impact of news footage of combat.

25 Methods Content Analysis The unit of analysis consisted on a single report by broadcast journalism about a person, unit, or event with a clear beginning, middle and end Network T.V. evening newscasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC from March 26, 2004 to March 12, 2006 were selected March 2004 date selected as it was roughly a year after the “Fall of Baghdad” March 2006 date is roughly a year after the beginning of the war

26 Methods All newscasts were related to military operations in Iraq. All newscasts were 30 minutes long, totaled 92 days of newscast evaluated. N=146 Content Analysis

27 Methods Coding Six coders were trained to conduct content analysis During training coders watched 10% of the newscast. Total of 20 segments Coders reached inter-coder reliability of R=.98 Using Holti’s (1969) method inter-coder reliability for nominal data, reliability reached.95

28 Methods Tone assessment Tone of media coverage was assessed with a global attitude measure adapted from Burgoon, Cohen, Miller and Montgomery (1978) Measure consisted of six 7-interval scales that included: Good/bad Positive/negative Wise/foolishValuable/worthless Favorable/unfavorableAcceptable/unacceptable Alpha.9

29 Methods Coding The extent of which a broadcast embodied opinion was assessed using a single-item indicator –The 7-interval scale ranges from opinion to interpretation Framing was also assessed in every unit of analysis –Used a single 7-interval scale measured episodic and thematic coverage –Scale was used by Pfau (2004)

30 Methods The content analysis also measured the content focus of the news stories by determining the percentage that the story devoted to a topic in a scale from 0% to a 100% Topics included: U.S. money spent in IraqMegawatt hours Oil Production Effectiveness of Iraqi forces Effectiveness of U.S. forces Iraqi forces combat casualties U.S. combat casualties Political instability Prospect of democracyPublic opinion rating about the Fallen hero story war in Iraq U.S. troops wounded in combat Coding

31 Methods Nominal level scales were used to evaluate coverage of casualties One question coded asked about specific casualties in the newscast (e.g., U.S. military casualties, Iraqi civilian casualties, insurgent casualties, Iraqi forces casualties, or other) Cause of casualties was also coded (e.g., road side bomb, gun fire, accident, or other) Coding

32 Methods Discussion of wounded was also coded (e.g., U.S. military casualties, Iraqi civilian casualties, insurgent casualties, Iraqi forces casualties, or other) The possibility of the news story discussing total number of death and wounded was also coded Coding

33 Methods Experiment Design 2 Phase study Conducted over 10 days 146 participants with a.97 retention rate

34 Methods Phase 1 initial attitude assessed to assign condition assigned to inoculation or control ratio 2:1 inoculation w/photo and w/o photo Measured - attitude of U.S. mil ops in Iraq involvement in Iraq threat counter-arguing Experimental Materials

35 Methods Phase 1 measured using scales by - Attitude (Burgoon, 1978) Involvement (Zaichkowski, 1985) Threat (Pfau, 1997) Counterarguing (Greenwald, 1968) Phase 1 Procedures

36 Methods Phase 1 measured using scales by - Attitude (Burgoon, 1978) Phase 1 Procedures unacceptable/acceptable foolish/wise unfavorable/favorable negative/positive bad/good wrong/right

37 Methods Phase 1 measured using scales by - Involvement (Zaichkowski, 1985) Phase 1 Procedures Unimportant/important No concern/of much concern Means nothing/means a lot Doesn’t matter/matters to me Insignificant/significant Irrelevant/relevant

38 Methods Phase 1 measured using scales by - Threat (Pfau, 1997) Phase 1 Procedures Not dangerous/dangerous Non-threatening/threatening Calm/anxious Not scared/scary Not harmful/harmful Not risky/risky

39 Methods Phase 1 measured using scales by - Counterarguing (Greenwald, 1968) 1) participants completed a list of arguments 2) completed subsequent responses to those arguments 3) rated the both lists Phase 1 Procedures

40 Methods Phase 2 Included video viewing (17 minutes) and phase 2 questionnaire Video contained 2:00 package on casualties Phase 2 again measured attitude toward continued U.S. presence in Iraq involvement threat counterarguing Phase 2 Procedures

41 Methods Measures continued in phase 2 included – 1)Emotional response to the story (Novak &Hoffman, 2005) 2)Experiential processing of the story (Novak & Hoffman, 2005) 3) Rational processing of the story (Novak & Hoffman, 2005) Items used for emotion - Angry, surprise, puzzled, sad, fear, pride (Dillard 1997) Phase 2 Procedures

42 Results

43 Research Question 1 What is the content focus of broadcast news from Iraq?

44 Change in Topic Across Time Time 1 Time 2Time 3 Dependent Variable ______________________________________________________________________ Progress1.06 (4.49) 1.28 (4.54)1.11 (4.90) (n = 72) (n = 43) (n = 30) Number of Casualties 6.89 (10.96) 7.27 (11.03)10.89 (13.94) (n = 72) (n = 43)(n = 30) Casualty Personality 6.94 (17.41) 13.40 (22.20)11.67 (21.51) (n = 72) (n = 43)(n = 30) Iraqi Politics15.69 (19.62) 12.44 (15.4712.25 (17.98) (n = 72) (n = 43) (n = 30 U.S. Politics1.90 (7.69) 1.89 (6.73)2.22 (8.46) (n = 72) (n = 44)(n = 30) ______________________________________________________________________________ Note: The means and standard deviations are depicted for the context of the broadcast news story. The story was coded from 0 to 100%. Table 1

45 Results RQ2: To what degree do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq manifest objective reporting or opinion? RQ3: What is the overall tone of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq? RQ6: Do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq employ more episodic or thematic framing?

46 Change in Tone, Frame, and Objectivity Across Time ______________________________________________________________________________ Time 1 Time 2Time 3 Dependent Variable ______________________________________________________________________________ Overall Tone4.17 (.99) 4.61 (1.06) 4.56 (1.55) (n = 72) (n = 44) (n = 30) Opinion 4.83 (1.53) 4.57 (1.98) 4.67 (2.23) (n = 72) (n = 44)(n = 30) Framing (episodic) 3.61 (1.76) 3.82 (2.21) 3.30 (2.37) (n = 50) (n = 375) (n = 30) _______________________________________________________________________ Note: Tone of coverage was assessed using two scales: overall tone of coverage was assessed using six 7-interval scales. The extent to which a broadcast embodied objectivity was also assessed using a single-item indicator. The 7-interval scale ranges from opinion/interpretation (a fair and balanced news story). Framing was assessed using a single 7-interval scale that measured the story’s placement on a thematic (1) vs. epic continuum (7). Table 2

47 Results Research Question 4 How often do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties? Are the casualties U.S. forces, Iraqi forces, or Iraqi civilians? 44% = Iraqi civilian casualties 53.6% = Wounded Iraqi civilians 35.7% = Wounded U.S. military

48 Results Research Question 5 When broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties, do they also include reports of U.S. public opinion about continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq? Overall coverage did not stress public opinion

49 Results RQ7, H1 One-way MANCOVA was computed for the independent variable casualties employing a covariate initial attitude toward continued U.S. presence in Iraq Stronger attitude produced greater pride and less negative emotion Broadcast news coverage elicited more emotion from females

50 Results RQ7 How do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of U.S. versus Iraqi combat differ in how they are processed by viewers? There were no differences in how U.S. versus Iraqi combat stories were processed RQ7

51 Results H1 Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories featuring footage of Iraqi combat. H1 was not supported H1

52 Results H2, H3 A 2 x 2 MANCOVA (sex and visual condition) Covariate: initial attitude

53 Results _________________________________________________________________________________

54 Results H2 Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat are processed more experientially by viewers than stories without footage of combat. H2 was not supported

55 Results H3 Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat exert greater negative influence on viewer support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq more than stories without footage H3 was supported Planned comparison tests revealed news stories with visual footage of combat undermined support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq

56 Results H5 Compared to print inoculation messages, print plus visual inoculation pretreatments are more effective in reducing the negative affective and attitudinal influence of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat. H5 was not supported

57 Results H4 Inoculation pretreatments reduce the negative affective and attitudinal influences of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat. Need to collect more data to determine whether this hypothesis is supported

58 Discussion

59 What we found  Minimal coverage about public opinion linked to war  Overall tone of coverage neutral  Different topics discussed at different times  U.S. military casualties, Iraqi casualties given same coverage

60 Discussion Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage Expectation - News coverage with U.S. combat footage would elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories with Iraqi combat footage. Finding – No Difference Women experienced more emotional response overall to combat visuals than men

61 Discussion Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage Expectation - News coverage with casualty footage is processed more experientially than coverage without footage Finding – Not supported

62 Discussion Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage Expectation - News coverage with combat footage elicits greater negative influence on viewer’s support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq Finding – Yes (in those without pre-existing positive attitudes)

63 Discussion Experiment – Inoculation Effects were suppressed: Study only included controls for message – not visuals Evidence gathered to date suggest inoculation will be effective No difference in Print/Print + Picture Inoculation

64 Discussion Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage Limitations: Use of “true” control group Lack of compelling video

65 Discussion Possibilities for Future Research Can we inoculate men against visual images? What are the effects of visual images of war on military personnel?

66 Discussion Recap Examined  Tone of coverage  Use of objectivity  Frames  Depiction of U.S. and Iraqi casualties  Visual impact of combat operations Research predictions  Individuals process broadcast news more emotionally  Broadcast news stories elicit negative responses Inoculation experiment

67 CONCLUSION


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