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When people have little direct knowledge of events, they become increasingly reliant on news media for information, but also an understanding or interpretation, of those events. The claim of framing theorists is that the media frame reality for their audiences: ‘how people think about an issue,’ the argument runs, ‘is dependent on how the issue is framed by the media’ (Semetko and Valkenburg, 2000: 94). The result is ‘a “media-constructed” version of reality’ (Callaghan and Schnell, 2001: 184). In this sense, framing theory forms part of a broader literature on media effects.

Gamson and Modigliani define a media frame as ‘a central organizing idea or story line that provides meaning to an upholding strip of events … The frame suggests what the controversy is about, the ...

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