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Department of Defense Joint Communications Course 06-C. An Examination of Broadcast News Coverage Depicting Images of War: Description, Effects, and Possible Antidote. Agenda. Introduction Literature Review Methods Results Discussion Conclusion. Literature Review. Agenda.

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Department of Defense

Joint Communications Course 06-C

An Examination of Broadcast News Coverage Depicting Images of War: Description, Effects, and Possible Antidote


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Agenda

  • Introduction

  • Literature Review

  • Methods

  • Results

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion




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Literature Review

DOD Policy

DOD Directive 5122.5 Assistant Department of Defense for Public Affairs and Army Regulation 360-1

“Open and independent reporting.”

“…Common sense, good taste and awareness of safety and security concerns.”

“…effect …on families and friends.”


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Literature Review

  • Public Opinion

  • Casualty Aversion

  • - Number of casualties American people will support

  • Assumption numbers will lower in the “right” circumstances

  • Casualty Shyness

  • - Military can fight wars without support of American people

  • - Images of body bags


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Literature Review

Content Analysis

RQ1: What is the content focus of broadcast news from Iraq?

RQ2: To what degree do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq manifest objective reporting or opinion?

RQ3: What is the overall tone of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq?


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Literature Review

  • RQ4: How often do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties? Are the casualties U.S. forces, Iraqi forces, or Iraqi civilians?

  • RQ5: When broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties do they also include reports of U.S. public opinion about continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq?


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News coverage - framing

Literature Review

  • Framing is how journalists present their stories and, in the process, give the stories meaning (Kosicki, 2003)

  • Thematic vs episodic - Episodic framing seeks to personalize issues, whereas, thematic framing presents collective or general evidence about issues. (Iyengar, 1991)

    RQ6: Do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq employ more episodic or thematic framing?


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Impact of War CoverageAffect and Emotion

Literature Review

  • Anderson and Guerrero (2005)

    • Affect is the general valence of an emotional state.

    • Emotion is response to stimulus.

  • Nabi (2003)“Pictures have an unquestioned capacity to arouse emotions and such arousal might influence attitudes directly or indirectly by impacting message processing”

  • Strivers (1994) Images appeal to human beings on an emotional level and posited that the more vibrant and exciting, the larger the effect.


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Impact of War CoverageCEST (Epstein and Pacini, 2001)

Literature Review

In CEST, the processing of news stories that feature footage of combat operations will be more experientially processed by viewers than those without footage.

  • People experience reality based upon what they see or hear.

  • Visualization is consistent with the view of CEST in that the experiential system encodes events primarily imagistically.

  • To the extent this is true, imagine experience functions in the experiential system in a similar manner as real experience.


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Impact of War CoverageCognitive Experiential Self Theory (CEST)

Literature Review

  • RQ7: How do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of U.S. versus Iraqi combat differ in how they are processed by viewers?

  • H1: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories featuring footage of Iraqi combat.

  • H2: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat are processed more experientially by viewers than stories without footage of combat.


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Literature

Influence of War Images

Literature Review

  • Graber (1987) “The perceived realism of visuals lends them credibility. Seeing is believing”

  • H3: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat exert greater negative influence on viewer support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq more than stories without footage


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Inoculation

Literature Review

The theory posits that when individuals are presented with weak arguments against one of their beliefs, they will be able to fight off that attack and subsequent attacks.

If beliefs should be attacked, the individual will develop or bolster their “immune system”, which contains arguments and strategies to counter future attacks on attitudes.

Medical analogy: Smallpox vaccine helps your body develop resistance to the virus itself.


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Inoculation (cont.)

Literature Review

  • McGuire (1961)

  • H4: Inoculation pretreatments reduce the negative affective and attitudinal influences of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.

  • H5: Compared to print inoculation messages, print plus visual inoculation pretreatments are more effective in reducing the negative affective and attitudinal influence of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.



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Methods

Purpose

Examine the broadcast news visuals of war. Utilized to

determine overall war broadcast news coverage tone

Experiment was conducted to examine the impact of

broadcast news footage of combat and to see if

inoculation is an effective antidote to the impact of

news footage of combat.


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Content Analysis

Methods

  • The unit of analysis consisted on a single report by broadcast journalism about a person, unit, or event with a clear beginning, middle and end

  • Network T.V. evening newscasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC from March 26, 2004 to March 12, 2006 were selected

  • March 2004 date selected as it was roughly a year after the “Fall of Baghdad”

  • March 2006 date is roughly a year after the beginning of the war


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Methods

Content Analysis

  • All newscasts were related to military operations in Iraq.

  • All newscasts were 30 minutes long, totaled 92 days of newscast evaluated.

  • N=146


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Coding

Methods

  • Six coders were trained to conduct content analysis

  • During training coders watched 10% of the newscast. Total of 20 segments

  • Coders reached inter-coder reliability of R= .98

  • Using Holti’s (1969)method inter-coder reliability for nominal data, reliability reached .95


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Tone assessment

Methods

  • Tone of media coverage was assessed with a global attitude measure adapted from Burgoon, Cohen, Miller and Montgomery (1978)

  • Measure consisted of six 7-interval scales that included:

    Good/bad Positive/negative

    Wise/foolish Valuable/worthless Favorable/unfavorable Acceptable/unacceptable

  • Alpha .9


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Coding

Methods

  • The extent of which a broadcast embodied opinion was assessed using a single-item indicator

    • The 7-interval scale ranges from opinion to interpretation

  • Framing was also assessed in every unit of analysis

    • Used a single 7-interval scale measured episodic and thematic coverage

    • Scale was used by Pfau (2004)


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Coding

Methods

  • The content analysis also measured the content focus of the news stories by determining the percentage that the story devoted to a topic in a scale from 0% to a 100%

    Topics included:

    U.S. money spent in Iraq Megawatt hours

    Oil Production Effectiveness of Iraqi forces

    Effectiveness of U.S. forces Iraqi forces combat casualties

    U.S. combat casualties Political instability

    Prospect of democracy Public opinion rating about the Fallen hero story war in Iraq

    U.S. troops wounded in combat


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Coding

Methods

  • Nominal level scales were used to evaluate coverage of casualties

    • One question coded asked about specific casualties in the newscast (e.g., U.S. military casualties, Iraqi civilian casualties, insurgent casualties, Iraqi forces casualties, or other)

    • Cause of casualties was also coded (e.g., road side bomb, gun fire, accident, or other)


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Coding

Methods

  • Discussion of wounded was also coded (e.g., U.S. military casualties, Iraqi civilian casualties, insurgent casualties, Iraqi forces casualties, or other)

  • The possibility of the news story discussing total number of death and wounded was also coded


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Methods

Experiment Design

  • 2 Phase study

  • Conducted over 10 days

  • 146 participants with a .97 retention rate


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Methods

Experimental Materials

  • Phase 1

  • initial attitude assessed to assign condition

  • assigned to inoculation or control ratio 2:1

  • inoculation w/photo and w/o photo

  • Measured -

  • attitude of U.S. mil ops in Iraq

  • involvement in Iraq

  • threat

  • counter-arguing


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Methods

Phase 1 Procedures

  • Phase 1 measured using scales by -

  • Attitude (Burgoon, 1978)

  • Involvement (Zaichkowski, 1985)

  • Threat (Pfau, 1997)

  • Counterarguing (Greenwald, 1968)


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Methods

Phase 1 Procedures

  • Phase 1 measured using scales by -

  • Attitude (Burgoon, 1978)

unacceptable/acceptable

foolish/wise

unfavorable/favorable

negative/positive

bad/good

wrong/right


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Methods

Phase 1 Procedures

  • Phase 1 measured using scales by -

  • Involvement (Zaichkowski, 1985)

Unimportant/important

No concern/of much concern

Means nothing/means a lot

Doesn’t matter/matters to me

Insignificant/significant

Irrelevant/relevant


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Methods

Phase 1 Procedures

  • Phase 1 measured using scales by -

  • Threat (Pfau, 1997)

Not dangerous/dangerous

Non-threatening/threatening

Calm/anxious

Not scared/scary

Not harmful/harmful

Not risky/risky


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Methods

Phase 1 Procedures

  • Phase 1 measured using scales by -

  • Counterarguing (Greenwald, 1968)

  • 1) participants completed a list of arguments

  • 2) completed subsequent responses to those arguments

  • 3) rated the both lists


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Methods

Phase 2 Procedures

  • Phase 2

  • Included video viewing (17 minutes) and phase 2 questionnaire

  • Video contained 2:00 package on casualties

  • Phase 2 again measured

  • attitude toward continued U.S. presence in Iraq

  • involvement

  • threat

  • counterarguing


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Methods

Phase 2 Procedures

  • Measures continued in phase 2 included –

  • Emotional response to the story (Novak &Hoffman, 2005)

  • Experiential processing of the story (Novak & Hoffman, 2005)

  • 3) Rational processing of the story (Novak & Hoffman, 2005)

  • Items used for emotion - Angry, surprise, puzzled, sad, fear, pride (Dillard 1997)



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Results

Research Question 1

What is the content focus of broadcast news from Iraq?


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Table 1

Change in Topic Across Time

Time 1 Time 2 Time 3

Dependent Variable

______________________________________________________________________

Progress 1.06 (4.49) 1.28 (4.54) 1.11 (4.90)

(n = 72) (n = 43) (n = 30)

Number of Casualties 6.89 (10.96) 7.27 (11.03) 10.89 (13.94)

(n = 72) (n = 43) (n = 30)

Casualty Personality 6.94 (17.41) 13.40 (22.20) 11.67 (21.51)

(n = 72) (n = 43) (n = 30)

Iraqi Politics 15.69 (19.62) 12.44 (15.47 12.25 (17.98)

(n = 72) (n = 43) (n = 30

U.S. Politics 1.90 (7.69) 1.89 (6.73) 2.22 (8.46)

(n = 72) (n = 44) (n = 30)

______________________________________________________________________________

Note: The means and standard deviations are depicted for the context of the broadcast news story. The story was coded from 0 to 100%.


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Results

  • RQ2: To what degree do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq manifest objective reporting or opinion?

  • RQ3: What is the overall tone of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq?

  • RQ6: Do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq employ more episodic or thematic framing?


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Table 2

Change in Tone, Frame, and Objectivity Across Time

______________________________________________________________________________

Time 1 Time 2 Time 3

Dependent Variable

______________________________________________________________________________

Overall Tone 4.17 (.99) 4.61 (1.06) 4.56 (1.55)

(n = 72) (n = 44) (n = 30)

Opinion 4.83 (1.53) 4.57 (1.98) 4.67 (2.23)

(n = 72) (n = 44) (n = 30)

Framing (episodic) 3.61 (1.76) 3.82 (2.21) 3.30 (2.37)

(n = 50) (n = 375) (n = 30)

_______________________________________________________________________

Note: Tone of coverage was assessed using two scales: overall tone of coverage was assessed using six 7-interval scales. The extent to which a broadcast embodied objectivity was also assessed using a single-item indicator. The 7-interval scale ranges from opinion/interpretation (a fair and balanced news story). Framing was assessed using a single 7-interval scale that measured the story’s placement on a thematic (1) vs. epic continuum (7).


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Research Question 4

Results

How often do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties? Are the casualties U.S. forces, Iraqi forces, or Iraqi civilians?

44% = Iraqi civilian casualties

53.6% = Wounded Iraqi civilians

35.7% = Wounded U.S. military


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Research Question 5

Results

When broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties, do they also include reports of U.S. public opinion about continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq?

Overall coverage did not stress public opinion


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Results

  • RQ7, H1

  • One-way MANCOVA was computed for the independent variable casualties employing a covariate initial attitude toward continued U.S. presence in Iraq

  • Stronger attitude produced greater pride and less negative emotion

  • Broadcast news coverage elicited more emotion from females


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Results

RQ7

  • RQ7 How do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of U.S. versus Iraqi combat differ in how they are processed by viewers?

  • There were no differences in how U.S. versus Iraqi combat stories were processed


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Results

H1

  • H1 Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories featuring footage of Iraqi combat.

  • H1 was not supported


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Results

  • H2, H3

  • A 2 x 2 MANCOVA (sex and visual condition)

  • Covariate: initial attitude


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Results

_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________


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Results

  • H2

  • Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat are processed more experientially by viewers than stories without footage of combat.

  • H2 was not supported


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Results

  • H3

  • Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat exert greater negative influence on viewer support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq more than stories without footage

  • H3 was supported

    • Planned comparison tests revealed news stories with visual footage of combat undermined support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq


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Results

  • H5

  • Compared to print inoculation messages, print plus visual inoculation pretreatments are more effective in reducing the negative affective and attitudinal influence of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.

  • H5 was not supported


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Results

  • H4

  • Inoculation pretreatments reduce the negative affective and attitudinal influences of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.

  • Need to collect more data to determine whether this hypothesis is supported



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Discussion

  • What we found

    • Minimal coverage about public opinion linked to war

    • Overall tone of coverage neutral

    • Different topics discussed at different times

    • U.S. military casualties, Iraqi casualties given same coverage


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Discussion

Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage

Expectation - News coverage with U.S. combat footage would elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories with Iraqi combat footage.

Finding – No Difference

Women experienced more emotional response overall to combat visuals than men


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Discussion

Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage

Expectation - News coverage with casualty footage is processed more experientially than coverage without footage

Finding – Not supported


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Discussion

Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage

Expectation - News coverage with combat footage elicits greater negative influence on viewer’s support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq

Finding – Yes (in those without pre-existing positive attitudes)


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Discussion

Experiment – Inoculation

Effects were suppressed:

Study only included controls for message – not visuals

Evidence gathered to date suggest inoculation will be effective

No difference in Print/Print + Picture Inoculation


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Discussion

Experiment – Processing of Broadcast News Coverage

Limitations:

Use of “true” control group

Lack of compelling video


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Discussion

Possibilities for Future Research

Can we inoculate men against visual images?

What are the effects of visual images of war on military personnel?


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Discussion

  • Recap

    • Examined

      • Tone of coverage

      • Use of objectivity

      • Frames

      • Depiction of U.S. and Iraqi casualties

      • Visual impact of combat operations

    • Research predictions

      • Individuals process broadcast news more emotionally

      • Broadcast news stories elicit negative responses

    • Inoculation experiment



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