The Media, Framing, & Strategy
April 16, 2013
By: Diana Geisinger & Addison Vang
• Summary of key ideas from the literature
• Integrating the topic of gun control in U.S. policymaking
• Analysis of ideas to address the following question:
• Which plays a larger role in policymaking in the United States – interest groups or the media?
• Concluding argument
• Discussion questions
Key Ideas from Literature
Gamson & Ryan:
“The Art of Reframing Political Debates”
• Framing through movementbuilding efforts
• Focuses on building and
sustaining carriers of frames
• Accomplished through
networks, funding,
infrastructure, etc.
Participatory Communication Model (Freier)
Phase One
Map Power Relations
Phase Two
Collective Action
Phase Three
• Participatory Communication Model
• Citizens as collective actors—groups of people
who interact, who are capable of building longterm relationships with journalists and of carrying
out collaborative, sustained reframing efforts that
may involve intense conflict
News response to "voter fraud" claims
Key Ideas from Literature
Dreier & Martin:
“How ACORN Was Framed: Political
controversy and media agenda setting”
Framing through the “agenda-setting effect”
Media control over news coverage (e.g.
what to think about) and attaching
meaning to content (e.g. how to think
about it)
Opinion Entrepreneurs
Typically non-elite individuals,
businesses, and quasi-political
organizations who work outside
traditional means (e.g. blogs, webpages,
etc.) of those who influence the news
and public agenda
Strength in numbers and collaboration
Zero fact check statements
Media Accountability
• Can reliability of fact checking affect the national mood
and/or public opinion?
Gun Control in the U.S.
Newton Tragedy as Case Study
The convergence of multiple media sources created by the Newton Tragedy
provided a window of opportunity for major gun control legislation.
• Media framing of Newton tragedy
• Interest groups impact on media and the gun control law
Gun Control in the U.S.
Newton Tragedy as Case Study
• Multiple sources converging on single story
• High visibility of event
• Framing
• “No parent should have to bury children so young.”
• Images of event
• Agenda Setting
• Focus event lead to new gun control legislation
Gun Control in the U.S.
Newton Tragedy as Case Study
• Lack of fact checking
• Reported Ryan Lanza as killer, later confirmed killer was younger brother Adam Lanza.
• Media don’t always disclose party affiliations.
Gun Control in the U.S.
Interest groups: Pro-gun control
• President Obama
• Proposed bill: background checks, ban semi-automatic rifles and handguns, limited
magazine capacity, and expand youth mental health programs
• Victim families
• Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Gun Control in the U.S.
Interest groups: Anti-gun control
• NRA – largest and most influential interest group
• Second Amendment
“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”
• Family/Support structure creates safe environments
“intact families tend to report lower levels of community violence, and … married
households tend to experience lower rates of homicide” 3
“Strong religious belief and involvement can likewise shape the emotions and actions
of individuals”3
• Parties gun ownership: Republicans 57%; Democrats 33%
• Removal of ban on semi-automatic guns and high capacity magazine from
proposed gun control bill.
Personally own
Other Household member own
Total own
Which plays a larger role in policymaking in the United States – interest groups or the media?
Interest groups
• Advantages: May have devotion of
• Advantages: Ability to frame arguments
government officials due to financial
contributions; involvement of elites &
professional networks; coalitions among
groups of participants
• Disadvantages: Cannot frame arguments in
seemingly objective ways nor reach masses
of the same magnitude as media networks
that reach public masses; can expose
hidden participants (e.g. funders, etc.)
• Disadvantages: Highly susceptible to factchecking credibility of claims
Which plays a larger role in policymaking in the United States – interest groups or the media?
The greatest influence in policy making is a combination of both sources.
There is an interplay between the two:
• Media need stories, especially controversial topics.
• Interest groups can use media to persuade or rally the masses.
• Interest groups have more influence in policymaking from being active in the government, greater
financial contributions, and networks available to them.
Which plays a larger role in policymaking in the United States – interest groups or the media?
• How would you address this question? Do you agree or disagree with the
preceding analysis? Why?
• Can you think of other advantages/disadvantages of each type of influence
in policymaking? What are some examples of policies currently being
impacted by media framing?
• Are there any examples of an instance in which one influence (media v.
interest groups) clearly outweighed the other in the political arena?
Gamson, W.A. & Ryan, C. (2006). “The Art of Reframing Political Debates.” American Sociological Association, 5(1), pp. 13-18.
Dreier, P. & Martin, C.R. (2010). “How ACORN Was Framed: Political controversy and media agenda setting.” Perspectives On Politics, 8(3), pp. 761-792.
"The Newtown Tragedy: Complex Causes Require Thoughtful ..." 2013. 16 Apr. 2013
"After Newtown, Modest Change in Opinion about Gun Control | Pew ..." 2012. 15 Apr. 2013
" | A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center." 2003. 15 Apr. 2013
"Westboro Baptist Church Proposed Newtown Protest Tests My First ..." 15 Apr. 2013
"How the NRA Undermined Congress' Last Push for Gun Control ..." 2013. 15 Apr. 2013
"Op-Ed: Newtown resident: Media is to blame for school tragedy ..." 2012. 15 Apr. 2013
"Media Bias in Coverage of Gun Control: The Press ... - Dave Kopel." 2002. 15 Apr. 2013
"Gun Ownership and Use in America - Gallup." 2009. 15 Apr. 2013
"Guns | Gallup Historical Trends." 2009. 15 Apr. 2013

The Media, Framing & Strategy