When covering the policymaking process, the media typically cover both substantive aspects of the issue at hand and the political wrangling that occurs as lawmakers attempt to agree on a course of action. In this paper, we use the recent health care debate to investigate the effects of what we call ‘policy’ and ‘process’ frames on the citizens’ perceptions that reform would benefit the nation. First, we apply social network analysis to articles from 144 daily U.S. newspapers in order to track the changing centrality of each type of frame in media coverage. We then combine the results of this analysis with data from the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll to demonstrate the effects of policy and process frames on public attitudes. The results show that increased policy frame centrality had a positive effect on all citizens, regardless of partisan identification or education level, although the effect was strongest for Republicans. The effects for increased process frame centrality were only observed for those in the middle range of education, with partisans on both sides reacting positively, and independents having more negative attitudes toward health reform.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jennifer_clark/2/