What Predicts the Game Frame? Media Ownership, Electoral Context, and Campaign News
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© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. While scholars have often bemoaned journalists’ heavy use of game-framed and “horse-race” coverage of elections, the contexts most likely to produce game-framed news have not yet been well identified. Our data collection across three election cycles (2004, 2006, 2008) and various levels of elective office (candidates for governor and U.S Senate), and across multiple media markets and types of news organizations allows us to examine the extent to which all three classes of contextual variables—the internal news-making context, the media economic market context, and the electoral political context—influence the provision of game-frame election coverage. We find that news organizations’ choices to rely heavily on game-frame election stories are dependent on both news-making and political contexts. These findings contribute to the ongoing debate on the relationship of media ownership to news quality, tempered by firm evidence that news outlets of all kinds tend to focus on the “game” of politics when electoral contests are close.
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Dunaway, J., & Lawrence, R. G.