Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

The Mythical Framing Effect: Media Coverage and Public Opinion Regarding the Iraq War


Azadeh Aalai and Victor Ottati

This study focused on the distinction between mythic and non-mythic framing of news stories pertaining to the Iraqi War. A content analysis was performed on 531 news articles appearing in The New York Times and Time Magazine from 2003 to 2007. Gallup polling data was used to construct measures of public opinion regarding the war (War Approval) and the Presidents handling of the war (Presidential Approval). In both news sources, non-mythical news coverage was more predominant than mythical coverage. Most importantly, the amount of mythical news coverage influenced popular opinion. Importantly, however, this mythical framing effect was moderated by media source and the nature of the popular opinion rating. Specifically, mythical news coverage in the New York Times significantly increased Presidential approval ratings. This mythical framing effect failed to emerge, however, when examining the effect of news coverage in Time Magazine and when predicting more general and impersonal ratings of War Approval. Results are discussed in the context of


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