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Title page for ETD etd-03282011-145352

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Anderson, Jennifer Ogg
URN etd-03282011-145352
Title Prime Time Politics: Television News and the Visual Framing of War
Degree PhD
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cindy D. Kam Committee Co-Chair
John G. Geer Committee Co-Chair
Bruce I. Oppenheimer Committee Member
Marc J. Hetherington Committee Member
Vanessa Beasley Committee Member
  • public opinion
  • war
  • television news
  • violence
Date of Defense 2011-03-16
Availability unrestricted
This project is concerned with how televised images of violence on the field of battle affect public support for war. News coverage is a powerful factor in influencing public opinion, but the majority of past empirical work has focused on spoken or written content rather than the visual component of television news. Emotion-laden imagery may evoke powerful reactions that are independent of a news story’s factual information. This dissertation captures the power of war images on television by developing a systematic and reproducible method of coding to measure news imagery. I use this method to conduct an original content analysis of the Vanderbilt Television News Archives, documenting changes in news portrayals of war over time and across news networks. I then examine the effects of violent war images on public support for war, finding that modern televised images of violence dwarf their predecessors in frequency and severity. I also find that the effects of violence negatively influence the public’s view of war. As violent images on television news increase, the public is less likely to support conflict.
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