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1 ANALYSIS OF APPLIED PERSUASION THEORY AND FRAMING EFFECTS IN ASTROTURF MOBILIZATION CAMPAIGNS FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEREGULATION By LISA L. YABLONSKY A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Lisa L. Yablonsky
3 To my family and friends
4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Spiro K iousis for his guidance throughout my thesis research and my committee members, Dr. Mary Ann Ferguson and Dr. Belio Martinez for their time and helpful comments. Additionally, I would like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Michael Mitrook and Dr. Justin Br own, both of whom provided me with needed insight as I began the thesis process. I would also like to thank Jody Hedge and Kimberly Holloway who consistently answered all of my questions about deadlines, defend ing, and funding my education. Special thank s goes to Kay Tappan and Vilma Jarvinen who spent many hours coding my research sample, allowing me to demonstrate the reliability of my results. And, finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for all of their support.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS p age ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 9 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .................... 11 The Evolution of Astroturf Mobilization ................................ ................................ ... 11 Theory and Message Construction in Astroturf Mobilization ................................ ... 14 Message Framing ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 24 Technical and Political Arguments For and Against Deregulation .......................... 27 Mobilizing the Public toward Deregulatio n ................................ .............................. 33 FreedomWorks ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 34 The Progress and Freedom Foundation ................................ ................................ 37 Fron tiers of Freedom ................................ ................................ .............................. 39 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 41 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 42 4 RES ULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 52 Intercoder Reliability ................................ ................................ ............................... 52 Results of the Full Sample ................................ ................................ ...................... 55 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 67 Review of Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............... 67 Theoretical and Practical Implications ................................ ................................ .... 70 Directions for Future Research ................................ ................................ ............... 72 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 74 APPENDIX A CODE SHEET ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 77 B CODE BOOK ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 79 C FREEDOMWORKS ACTION ALERT ................................ ................................ ..... 83
6 WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 84 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 89
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Newspapers included in the news population ................................ ..................... 50 3 2 Industry news sources included in the news population ................................ ..... 51 3 3 Wire services included in the news population ................................ ................... 51 4 1 Holsti's reliability coefficient ................................ ................................ ................ 62 4 2 Scott's pi; RC1 (Congressional sample) ................................ ............................. 62 4 3 Sco tt's pi; RC1 (news population) ................................ ................................ ....... 62 4 4 Scott's pi; RC2 (news population only) ................................ ............................... 63 4 5 Frequency of message frames in the sample ................................ ..................... 63 4 6 Correlation between frames present in the news population and the Congressional sample ................................ ................................ ........................ 64 4 7 Economic benefit to taxpayers (news population) ................................ .............. 64 4 8 Threat to free market enterprise (news population) ................................ ............ 64 4 9 Waste of government/taxpayer financial resou rces (news population) ............... 65 4 10 Economic benefit to taxpayers (Congressional sample) ................................ ..... 65 4 11 Threat to free market enterprise (Co ngressional sample) ................................ .. 65 4 12 Waste of government/taxpayer financial resources (Congressional sample) ..... 65 4 13 Transfer of regulato ry costs to consumers (news population) ............................ 65 4 14 Impeding technological growth (news population) ................................ .............. 66 4 15 Inhibiting/limiting cons umer choice (news population) ................................ ........ 66 4 16 Transfer of regulatory costs to consumers (Congressional sample) ................... 66 4 17 Impeding technolo gical growth (Congressional sample) ................................ .... 66 4 18 Inhibiting/limiting consumer choice (Congressional sample) .............................. 66
8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requir ements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication ANALYSIS OF APPLIED PERSUASION THEORY AND FRAMING EFFECTS IN ASTROTURF MOBILIZATION CAMPAIGNS FOR TELECOMMUNICA TIONS DEREGULATION By Lisa L. Yablonsky August 2011 Chair: Spiro Kiousis Major: Mass Communication This study examines three astroturf organizations and the way they frame messages about the debate over telecommunications deregulation. While there are inherent components of social change and social responsibility, the primary purpose of the current study is to determine whether these organizations frame messages about telecommunications deregulation in the same way as journalists, legislators, and telec ommunications industry experts. This research indicates that there is a correlation between message frames present in the news media and message frames present in statements made by legislators and industry experts during Congressional hearings. However, these communicators do not frame their messages about telecommunications deregulation in the same way as the astroturf organizations studied here. Therefore, one might hypothesize that these astroturf organizations are not successful in influencing anyone outside of their own membership base and that the members of astroturf organizations
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION As grassroots organizations and lobbying firms have evolved, each h as begun to borrow tactics from the other ( Klotz, 2007 ) This convergence has facilitated a new trend in politic al persuasion that is commonly referred to as astroturf mobilization ( Silverstein & Taylor, 2007 ) While some scholars have identified this trend as a type of corporate capitalization of grassroots efforts, it does have some potential as a legitimate campaign strategy that could be an effe ctive public relations approach to campaigning in the event that a clean elections environment evolves. Alternatively this method could provide an alternative to traditional lobbies that fail to convey their messages or to traditional grassroots movement s that become weak due to their decentralized organization ( Brulle & Jenkins, 2006 ; Shellenberger & Nordhaus, 2005 ) While there has been sufficient research regarding the legitimacy of th e astroturf movements, there has not been sufficient scholarly debate on their effectiveness, nor has there been sufficient research to understand their use of message frames and the way those message frames might influence more mainstream communicators Therefore the purpose of the present study is to examine three astroturf organizations with the goal of identifying the message frames they use and determining whether these same message frames appear in other venues. More specifically, this study will e xamine whether the frames present in messages disseminated by these astroturf organizations are also present in the rhetoric and messages presented to and by policy makers during Congressional hearings and in print media related to the ongoing debate over telecommunications deregulation. This study is intended to be explanatory in
10 nature and, as such, the researcher will attempt to explain the impact, if any, of astroturf communications on mainstream media
11 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE The three orga nizations examined in this study FreedomWorks, the Progress Property Rights have been identified by PR Watch as astroturf organizations ( PR Watch, 2006 ) In the following sections, a discussion will ensue regarding the evolution of astroturf organizations, the theoretical foundation of their effectiveness, and their employment in the debate over telecommunications de regulation The E volution of A stroturf M obilization money, the role of lobbying also becomes increasingly scrutinized ( Sil verstein & Taylor, 2007 ) Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, which enumerates a variety of disclosure requirements and industry restrictions with the intention of regulating lobbyi sts and their influence over public officials ( Cutlip, Center, & Broom, 2000 ) However, critics of the enhanced regulation argue that the scope of this legislation was not sufficiently broad to ensure greater transparency in lobbying procedures. Instead of implementing new procedures that strictly adhere to the new requirements, organizations including those examined in this study have avoided these requirements by planting fake grassroots movements astroturf movements lf ( Silverstein & Taylor, 2007 ) F reedomWorks, for example, emails Action Alerts to registered members. These alerts, which tend to caution recipients about Democratic
12 fear mongering, ironically utilize fears to provoke some action or behavior that will advance the interest s of the organization and its founders, but will not necessarily advance the interests of the recipients. In addition to direct email, such as that which is mentioned above, all three organizations examined here utilize a variety of grassroots mobilizati on tactics such as letter writing campaigns, marches, and member conferences ( FreedomWorks, 2007 ; Silverstein, 1998 ) k recipient to a form letter that is pre addressed to the relevant government officials. This form letter can be edited if the recipient so desires, and can then be sent direc tly from the Web site by email or snail mail. 1 By offering the use of these messages to the general public instead of relaying them directly to members of Congress, organizations like FreedomWorks seem to gain credibility through constituent endorsement while circumventing lobbying disclosure requirements. However, despite the grassroots characteristics of these organizations, both the funding and the motivation for their activism tend to originate from corporate sponsors and sometimes from the legislat ors that these organizations lobby the most. FreedomWorks, for example, is involved in energy and environmental campaigns that seem to align with the goals of organizations such as Chevron and the American Petroleum Institute two of FreedomWorks corporate sponsors ( FreedomWorks, 2007 ; Silverstein, 1998 ; Silverstein & Taylor, 200 7 ) The resulting third party endorsement of the corporations that fund its research makes FreedomWorks look like a front group for 1 Please note that examples drawn from FreedomWorks will be particularly frequent throughout this study because this organization is the most active in mobilizing constituent support.
13 these corporations an accusation that is hard to prove, but that casts doubt on the sages ( Silverstein, 1998 ) In response to such veiled attempts at av oiding lobbying regulation, the Senate sought to prevent further abuses of apparent loopholes in the existing lobbying regulation by passing the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Acts of 2006 and umerating policy regarding the ( "Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006," 2006 ; "Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007," 2007 ) This new legislation addresses de facto astroturf lobbyists that were previously exempt from registering as lobbyists because they do not lobby the White House or members of Congress directly. Although the use of grassroots tactics certainly represents a new distinction within the lobbyi ng function, the justification used to avoid compliance with lobbying regulation is not much different than that once proffered by foreign agents ( Silverstein & Taylor, 2007 ) Therefore, it is not surprising that the 2006 and 2007 legislation use language similar to that found in the Forei gn Agents Registration Act when defining a grassroots lobbyist or a grassroots lobbying firm receives income of, or spends or agrees to spend, an aggregate of $25,000 or more for ( "Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006," 2006 ; US Department of Justice, 2007 ) In addition to th is stipulation, the bill requires astroturf lobbying firms to register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives within
14 forty five days of being retained for such purposes ( "Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006," 2006 ) Based on this legislation, the astroturf organizations would be required to disclose their contributors, which they now do, and, m ore importantly, that disclosure subjects astroturf lobbyists to the same regulations as traditional lobbyists, making it more difficult for them to evade lobbying rules and more difficult for their contributors to purchase third party credibility. Althou gh, at the same time, this increased disclosure makes it easier for astroturf mobilizers and traditional lobbyists to integrate their efforts towards achieving legislation that will be more amenable to the organizations that they represent. Theory and M e ssage C onstruction in A stroturf M obilization The evolution of this new type of lobbying marks the inception of a new branch of public relations practice, which is primarily characterized by the distinction between target publics. While traditional lobbyi ng focuses on facilitating two way symmetrical relationships between the client and the appropriate legislator, astroturf practitioners are charged with persuading a new public the general public to mobilize in support of a paying client. These mobilizers utilize several techniques, some of which borrow heavily from grassroots organizers, and include press releases and editorials available for reprint in the mass media, direct emailing, and letter/email campaigns that assist constituents in writing to thei r government representatives at national, state, and local levels. This last function, in particular, is similar to that of media relations in its use of indirect message dissemination, and it can be characterized by an asymmetrical message flow through w hich the astroturf organization attempts to persuade the general public without providing any clear mechanisms for the public to initiate communication with the organization. Instead, members of the public are directed to identify with and
15 claim ownership legislators and policy makers that represent them. Unlike the media, who generate coverage based on the needs and interests of their readers and advertisers, with the potential ancillary effect of disseminating the issues mirror the needs and interests of the public. Then, if the organization is effective in dictating the public agenda, it may work to wards mobilizing the general public to advocate on its behalf, regardless of the existence of any resulting public benefit. If a member of the general public supports the aims of the client, that member becomes an actor in the flow of message distribution If the practitioner recruits a sufficient number of supporting actors, the chances of achieving the desired policy outcome should increase; if not, then the practitioner should fail. Due to the mutually exclusive dichotomy of this type of lobbying eff ort, the two ( 1992 ) ( 1992 ) model requires that an equilibrium of advocacy and accommodation exist s between an organization and its publics ( A. Cancel, Cameron, Sallot, & Mitrook, 1997 ; Coombs, 1998 ) When such equilibrium is present, Coombs ( 1998 ) argues that a mutually beneficial relationship based on two way communication can be achieved, although, such a relationship may or may not be ideal, necessary, or even ethical ( A. Cancel, et al., 1997 ; A. E. Cancel, Mitrook, & Cameron, 1999 ; Coombs & Holladay, 2004 ; B. H. Reber & Cameron, 2003 )
16 T he relationship sought by astroturf mobilizers does not need to be mutually beneficial in order to accomplish the asymmetrical message flow from organization to constituent to government rep resentative that is described above. Moreover, the accommodation of publics in a mutually beneficial relationship may even threaten achievement of the policy goals advocated by the organization by compromising the message in deference to variants in publi c opinion. Therefore, instead of seeking to relate with a wide range of publics, the organization would gain the most legislative support, and thus achieve its objective most completely, by persuading the largest possible portion of the public of the rele little compromise as necessary. Although, just because pure accommodation of publics is inappropriate in this type of situation does not mean that pure advocacy on behalf of the organization is warranted e ither. Rather, the contingency theory of accommodation indicates that communication occurs along a continuum that ranges from pure advocacy, or conflict, to pure accommodation, or cooperation ( A. E. Cancel, et al., 1999 ; Murphy, 1991 ) Reber and Cameron ( 2003 ) argue, practitioners must account for and prioritize both their own needs and the needs of their publics in order to identify their stance on the co ntinuum with respect to a given issue. The ability to shift organizational stance along the continuum, in either direction, then allows practitioners to imagine the nuances of infinite contingencies ( A. Cancel, et al., 1997 ) Although, given the cost of accommodation in lobbying and astroturf campaigning i.e., failure to persuade target publics by accommodating their positions instead of advocating on behalf of the client
17 taking a stance toward the advocacy extreme is not only expected, but also the most appropriate campaign for this type of situation ( A. E. Cancel, et al., 1999 ; Coombs, 1998 ; B. H. Reber & Cameron, 2003 ) The resulting polar nature of astroturf campaigns is comparable to that found in litigation public relations in that any outcome other than success constitutes failure ( B. Reber, Gower, & Robinson, 2006 ) Therefore, the practice of astroturf mobilization requires the use of asymmetrical advocacy communication similar to that used in litigation public relations practice, the goal of which, according to Reber et al. ( 2006 ) to reinfor process runs counter to the two way symmetrical approach confirmed as a best practice ( 1992 ) excellence theory for public relations, asymmetrical communication is appropriate to litigation public relations due t o its adversarial nature ( B. Reber, et al., 2006 ) licy or creating a relationship conducive to shaping ( Thomas, 2005 ) Although the relationship between the lobbyist and the policy maker may be mut ually beneficial, the same may not be true of the relationship between the lobbyist and the general public. The conflicting relationship that results then puts lobbyists at odds with public advocates such as activists and regulatory groups, which then bec ome extraneous stakeholders in persuade lawmakers to support the
18 ( Showalter & Fleisher, 2005 ) However, first, t he astroturf organizations must garner support for their positions from independent citizens, incite them to seek membership, and then persuade members that they do, in fact, have a stake in a given issue. FreedomWorks, for example, persuades its members by framing every issue on ( FreedomWorks, 2007 ) By defining taxes as an overarching political problem and diagnosing its cause as excess government intervention, FreedomWorks places itself in a position to offer solutions to individuals who ei ( Callaghan & Schnell, 2001 ) Addressing policy situations in this way allows lobbyists to narrow their focus to constituents This approach provides the potential to avoid the stringent regulations imposed when lobbying policy makers directly and, at the same time, gives organizations like FreedomWorks third party credibility through their astroturf membership base. However, this focus on recruiting members of the general public to join an astroturf organization is independent of any intention of building mutually beneficial relationships between the astroturf organization and the public, or even between the in alignment with those groups that support the astroturf org anization ( Showalter & Fleisher, 2005 ) This objective devalues true input from group members and the general p ublic, while favoring persuasive organizational output, unless, of course, the
19 public can be effectively persuaded to believe that the organizational goals are in alignment with contemporary societal norms, beliefs, and opinions ( Pa yne, 2001 ) There are two main benefits of persuading the general public to advocate on behalf of an organization rather than paying lobbyists or other advocates to persuade policy makers and regulatory bodies directly these benefits are accountability a nd credibility ( Beder, 1998 ) The former is more about protection than persuasion. That is, if the message falls out of favor with the general public for any reason, the entity that benefits from disseminat ion of that message can protect itself from unfavorable scrutiny because this entity will not be credited with responsibility for the message. Instead, the front group or astroturf organization that has been charged with disseminat ing the message on the e behalf will be held accountable ( Beder, 1998 ) Such protection is further extended as members of the front group begin to build a social network based on the ideas disseminated by the front group and in accordance to the Homophily Principle, begin to attract new members that already hold attitudes in alignment with the or, at least, believe that they do ( Knoke, 1990 ) Therefore, members will feel accountable for and take ownershi will believe it to be consistent with their own preexisting attitudes. FreedomWorks, for example, encourages such network building by including a icking that button, current members can have an Action Alert forwarded to five potentially like minded friends, which can then result in both membership growth for the front group and increased among existing social networks ( Knoke, 1990 ) The latter effect is particularly important to the persuasion
20 ( 1999 ) cyclical multistep flow s the salience of the issue being communicated, and lead s to further interpersonal communication. As a result, individuals who become involved in an issue through the multistep flow process gain awareness of the issue and, through the organizational tools provided by FreedomWorks, an opportunity to consider act ion ( Hallahan, 2000 ; Slater, 1999 ) FreedomWorks communicators facilitate this process even further by utilizing the sequential influence techniques of inter personal communication theory in formulating Action Alerts ( Perloff, 2003 ) For example, in an Action Alert titled Stop the Al Gore and United Nations Climate of Fear Campaign! the organization incorporates the fear then relief compliance technique by heading its email alert with an alarming exc lamation that promotes the implication that Al Gore and the UN are conspiring to mislead the public and must be stopped ( FreedomWorks, 2007a ; Perloff, 2003 ) Then, in the first paragraph of the message, the threat is immediately relieved with a brief explanation of the upcoming opportunity that constituents would have to dissuade their representatives from aligning with This particular message was released just before the Memorial Day weekend, for which representatives would be likely to visit their districts and participate in town hall meetings as well as other local public events where constituents c campaign ( FreedomWorks, 2007a ; Slater, 1999 ) Furthermore while the message does not contain the kind words typically present in a fear then relief strategy it does
21 2 both by instantly generating a letter to their representative as mentioned above and by motivating message recipients to speak with their represe ntative directly during the upcoming holiday ( FreedomWorks, 2007a ; Hallahan, 2000 ) Such direct communication between constituents and representatives leads to the other main benefit of astroturf mobilization: credibility ( Bede r, 1998 ) Since representatives are primarily accountable to their constituents, it would follow that constituents as opposed to other public policy stakeholders such as the corporations that the front groups represent should have the highest levels of credibility from the perspective of the policy makers. Furthermore, as one might expect, research has shown that the credibility of a communicator is positively correlated with the persuasiveness of his or her message ( Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994 ; Griffin, Neuwirth, Giese, & Dunwoody, 2002 ; Meyers Levy & M aheswaran, 2004 ) C redibility, like other heuristics, aids the audience in this case, policy makers in evaluating messages without systematically processing all available or existing information ( Pfau & Wan, 2006 ) The utility of the credibility heuristic is not limited to the constituent legislator interaction; rather, it is also prominent in the astroturf messages at several different levels p rimarily, the source level. For example, all of the FreedomWorks Action Alerts ( FreedomWorks, 2007 ) Not only is Armey a figure head of the organization, but he also had 17 years of policy making experience in the United States 2 Capitalization in original.
22 House of Representatives ( "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress," 20 07 ; FreedomWorks, 2007 ) Whether his work in the legislature was positive or not is irrelevant because participants in his social network front group and targets of his messages ( Knoke, 1990 ) Therefore, in addition to maintaining credibility, Armey is likely to be perceived as an expert by FreedomWorks members, which, in turn, should trigger a second heuristic in m that Armey, as an expert, should be trusted ( Meyers Levy & Maheswaran, 2004 ; O'Keefe, 2002 ) The inclusion of these heuristics source credibility and experts can be trusted are important to the construction of persuasive messages, such as those discussed here, because research has shown that audiences tend to rely on heuristics rather than process messages systematically ( Pfau & Wan, 2006 ) Heuristic processing is helpful because it is more efficient and less time consuming to rely on decision rules than it would be to systematically process every available piece of information, and also because som e segments of the target audience may not have the skills necessary to systematically process some messages ( Hallahan, 2000 ; Pfau & Wan, 2006 ) Hallaha n ( 2000 ) tells us that, in order to process the messages presented to them, audiences must have the motivation, ability, and opportunity to do so If just one of these three criteria is missing the audience may not choose or may not be able to process a message at all. Therefore, heuristics also known as peripheral message cues can be used to capture attention, demonstrate message relevance, and express the utility of a message to the target audience regardless of their level of motivation, ability, or opportunity to evaluate it ( Hallahan, 2000 )
23 Although the use of heuristics rather than systematic information processing is negatively correlated with the strength of beliefs and attitudes, as well as the endurance of the message, researchers have found that, in addition to replacing systematic processing, heuristics can also bias systematic processing in situ ations where both processing modes are likely to be employed ( Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994 ; Griffin, et al., 20 02 ; Meyers Levy & Maheswaran, 2004 ; Pfau & Wan, 2006 ) Specifically, Chaiken and Maheswaran ( 1994 ) found that both heuristic and systematic processing may be utilized simultaneously when the message is clear, it comes from a credible source, and the motivation to process the message is high as would be the case with front g roup messages as judged by front group members Furthermore, these researchers found that messages with high perceived source credibility which is likely the case here may even lead to deeper information processing because they are judged to be more highl y relevant than messages from sources that lack credibility ( Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994 ) Perhaps that is why organizations such as FreedomWorks rely on a mix of these he uristics, along with interpersonal compliance strategies, to persuade members to persuade their government representatives. The additive effects of using these strategies together should incite change in both attitude and behavior. The Al Gore Action Ale rt, for example, utilizes the fear then relief compliance strategy, in conjunction with the credibility and expert heuristics, to motivate group members to take action while, at the same time, presenting a clear and easy opportunity to do so ( Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994 ; Hallahan, 2000 ; Meyers Levy & Mahesw aran, 2004 ; Perloff, 2003 ) As such, group members have the ability to comply with the message whether or not
24 they have the ability to systematically process it. And, although the effects of Freedom Works messages are not currently known, such a message should, in theory, result in the behavior that the front group is attempting to elicit ( Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994 ; Hallahan, 2000 ; Slater, 1999 ) However, it is also important for communicators to recognize that not all audiences will process messages in the same way. Rather, communicators must determine whether the ir publics are likely to process messages systematically or through the use of heuristics because the construction of effective messages will vary depending on the way in which they are proc essed. When addressing an audience that is likely to process messages heuristically, positively framed arguments the hedonism heuristic have been found to be more persuasive than negatively framed arguments ( Meye rs Levy & Maheswaran, 2004 ) Alternatively, when addressing an audience that is likely to process messages systematically, negatively framed, non normative arguments are more persuasive because they are likely to contradict available heuristics, encoura ging a deeper level of processing ( Griffin, et al., 2002 ; Meyers Levy & Maheswaran, 2004 ) Message Framing However message construction extends beyond the assignment of a positive or negative frame valence framing to a given issue ( Hallahan, 1999 ) Hallahan ( 1999 ) identifies multiple levels of framing, including valence framing, semantic framing the manipulation of words, such as the substitution of climate change for global warming and story framing which is the incorporation of narrative techniques in support of a key theme found throughout the message. Hallahan ( 1999 ) then goes on to define framing
25 by including certain ele ments of a given issue, giving emphasis where desired, and excluding other elements. Alternatively, framing can be defined as a three stage communication process that serves the following four functions: 1) To identify an issue as a problem defined by co sts and benefits; 2) to attribute responsibility for causing or resolving that problem; 3) to pass judgment; 4) to provide a resolution ( de Vreese, 2005 ; Entman, 1993 ; Zoch & Molleda, 2006 ) As opposed to providing a theme for a message, framing is a structured attempt to organize a message in order to sha pe the inferences that individuals might make about a given topic ( Hallahan, 1999 ; Reese, 2007 ) The first stage of framing take place when message frames begin to emerge as a result of interactions between communicator s and the audiences with which they interact ( de Vreese, 2005 ) As long as communicators continue to interact with audiences, frames may continue to emerge ( de Vreese, 2005 ; Zoch & Molleda, 2006 ) Therefore, it is imp ortant to conceptualize this first stage of framing as a continuous, foundational process rather than the first step in a chronological progression of events. Although, once frames begin to emerge, it is possible to engage in the second stage of framing frame which, according to de Vreese ( 2005 ) stage the consequences stage takes place. Consequences of framing may include, decision ( de Vreese, 2005 )
26 In summary, framing, by any definition is a process by which communicators can identify, develop, co opt, o r disseminate common frames of reference within the communicative process. Sometimes, these frames of reference are best described as issue frames because they refer specifically to a single issue ( de Vreese, 2005 ) Issue frames allow the researcher to conduct a highly detailed analysi s of a specific topic, but make it difficult to generalize results to other studies within the framing community ( de Vreese, 2005 ) Alternatively some frames are common throughout the framing literature and have been identified in various types of media ( de Vreese, 2005 ; Neuman, Just, & Crigler, 1992 ; Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000 ; Valkenburg, Semetko, & de Vreese, 1999 ) ( de Vreese, 2005 ; Neuman, et al., 1992 ; Seme tko & Valkenburg, 2000 ) Framing, though, does not begin and end within the text of a message. Elements within the text, such as vocabulary, citation of sources, and cultural references are just a few of the tools employed when framing a message. Text ual framing, and particularly narrative framing within the text, is the focus of the present study, but it is not the only place in which frames might occur. Entman ( 1993 ) notes that frames may also come from the communicator, the audience, or the surrounding cultural framework. Since message framing provides a framework for interpretation, it is important to recognize the effects that these other framing sources may have on the interpretation of text and textual frames ( Entman, 1993 ; Martinez & Kiousis, 2005 ; Zoch & Molleda, 2006 ) Martinez and Kiousis ( 2005 ) did just that when
27 communicator manipulates the message and regardless of the way the communicator interprets the subject of the message, the contextual boundaries of the target audience will dictate the final meaning of the message and the frame through which it is interpreted. A thorough understanding of message framing and the incorporation of heuristics into the asymmetrical communications utilized b y astroturf organizations is particularly important in the analysis of messages regarding telecommunications deregulation because it is a topic that applies to the general public, yet may be too complicated for many members of the public to understand. Pe rhaps that is the why the relationship between telecommunications policy makers (the FCC) and the general public has failed to foment while the relationship between the FCC and lobbyists representing the telecommunications industry has grown so strong. Ye t, in recent years, there has been proximity of that relationship. Therefore, major news outlets have devoted increasing time and space to FCC proceedings and public hearings, creating an environment of basic public awareness that seems favorable for astroturf organizations to increase their public membership around the issue of deregulating the industry and, thereby, allowing a stronger relationship between the industry and the public. Technical and Political Arguments For and Against D eregulation Also c entral to the debate over the deregulation of telecommunications is the need to maintain a free and competitive marketplace while protecting the public interest ( Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) For government initiated, bi partisan groups like the Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil (PIAC), these two goals are seen as competing ideals that must be juxtaposed into a comprehensive policy that will accommodate two
28 ends of a spectrum on one end lies the marketplace, which favors majority opinion and, at the other, lies the greater public interest, which incorporates the needs of every member of the public as opposed t o just those of the majority. In most industries, protecting the marketplace of ideas through anti trust legislation would be sufficient to ensure fair competition and to spur innovation. However, there is no mechanism in free market economics to ensure that the needs of the entire public not just the majority are met. Therefore, the telecommunications industry similar to transportation, energy utilities, and currency exchange has been distinguished as one of the national infrastructures that have public interest obligations beyond the needs of the majority or those of the market ( Horwitz, 1989 ) Thus, members of the telecommunications industry are generally regulated as common carriers and are legally bound, as are the other designated infrastructure industries, to ensure common service that is in the interest of the public as a whole ( Horwitz, 1989 ; Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) However, unlike the other three infrastructure industries mentioned above, the organizations within the telecommunications industry may also fulfill the role of information service providers, which falls outside of the common carrier function. In addition to prov iding a common conduit for the transportation of data and information, telecommunications entities, such as cable providers, are also providing the content traveling through any given conduit. The resulting duality of a telecommunications common carrier t hat is also providing content makes the implementation of regulatory policy tenuous in that any legitimate
29 preserving the first amendment rights of the information s ervice provider as a free speaker. Given the ambiguous role of telecommunications providers, the justification for telecommunications regulation must center on a dual interpretation of the First Amendment. On one hand, the rights of content providers are embodied by the right of free speech and sometimes also freedom of the press. On the other hand, the public interest is protected by the Madisonian principles, whic h maintain the right to equal outcome for competing voices varying segments of the public in much the same way that the principles of capitalism protect the free market and the right to equal opportunity for competing entities. In contrast to the model of majority rule, the Madisonian principles preserve a diversity of voices in the marketplac e that may be independent of the majority interest. The regulated entities responsible for protecting that diversity play the role of public trustees ( Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) Bo th public interest and free market regulations must remain in balance in order perpetuation of the telecommunications infrastructure. Horwitz ( 1989 ) supports ng on their own, pursuing the logic of profit maximization, cannot adequately safeguard the conditions which allow their industry when taken as a whole regulation prevents abuse by larger or stronger companies, protecting the marketplace not just the public from monopolistic domination. However, scholars, including Horwitz, have also found that strict regulation restricts telecommunications service providers from developing new technologies and
30 services, as was the case with AT&T as it was coming to the end of its monopoly over telephone service ( Cheng, Bandyopadhyay, & Guo, 2007 ; Horwi tz, 1989 ; Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) While strict regulation of the phone company in its early days helped foster technological growth within AT&T and prevent the construction of redundant profits with or without innovation and eventually lead to corporate complacency with obsolete technology ( Aufderheide, 1999 ) Thus, there comes a time in the evolution of any industry at which point heavy regulation is particularly unj ustified because it will begin to inhibit commercial development and prevent regulated entities from effectively which are the basic goals of federal oversight in the first place ( Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) This ultimate failure of the regulatory system to meet its primary goals has resulted in a unique policy debate that positions the regulatory agency and regulated industr ies against a bi ( Horwitz, 1989 ; Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) While the former group advocates for a free marketplace of ideas to the benefit of telecommunications companies, the latter advocates in favor of the Madiso nian principles and believes in protecting the rights of under served telecommunications consumers ( Horwitz, 1989 ; Public Interest Advisory Cou n cil 1998 ) Both parties believe that their constituencies will be better served by increased competition, which requires a telecommunications environment that is, to some degree, deregula ted.
31 ( Horwitz, 1989 ) Instead of advocating on behalf of consumers, regulators in this instance would be compliant with the needs of the regulated industry and effec tively protecting incumbent entities from competition. Alternatively, a conservative proponent of deregulation would argue that new technology has broken the boundaries of existing regulation, which prevents incumbents from competing with new unregulated entrants to the marketplace ( Horwitz, 1989 ) Such a situation played out ( Content, 2005 ) Although SBC was t argued, and the commission agreed, that there was increasing competition for telephone service from cellular and cable providers as well as other phone companies and newer technologies. Thus, it seemed that unregulated entities like the cellular companies using new technologies or regulated entities like the cable companies offering unregulated services like cable modems had an advantage over SBC, which was previously barred by franchise agreements or other types of regulation from effective competition. However, the irony of the SBC situation was that in this instance, deregulation did not truly open the telephone market to new entrants; rather, the decision to deregulate phone service in Wisconsin merely allowed the incumbent telephone provider to compete more effectively against the incumbent cable operator and Internet service providers operating in the region. Thus, this instance of deregulation served the interests of the two incum bent telecommunications providers instead of the public interest or the interests of potential new entrants to the market. Perhaps that is one of
32 the reasons that Sunstein ( 2000 ) argued that government re gulation, in some form, will be necessary as long as the telecommunications industry is privately controlled. However, while the arguments of Sunstein ( 2000 ) and Horwitz ( 1989 ) focus on the political justifications of regulation, or lack thereof, other scholars focus in stead on the technical arguments for deregulation. Hazlett ( 1997 ) and Werbach ( 2002 ) for example, f avor deregulation because technological innovation has overcome fears of spectrum scarcity and can no longer be used to justify continued regulation. Hazlett ( 1997 ) argues that the decis ion to regulate telecommunications is no longer a binary choice between anarchy on the airwaves or controlled use and distribution of a finite broadcast spectrum. Instead, frequencies of the finite spectrum can be infinitely divisible, and frequency space is expanding with new innovations and technologies ( Hazlett, 1997 ) Hazlett ( 1997 ) then argues that the myth of physical sc arcity has only prevailed as a means for the FCC to maintain control over information disseminating resources. Alternatively, Werbach ( 2002 ) points out that the idea of s pectrum scarcity is not a complete myth. Rather than viewing spectrum as a limitless resources, as did Hazlett ( 1997 ) Werbach ( 2002 ) finds spectrum to be akin to a common grazing ground or a public highway system in that users must operate under certain limitations and within y exhausting otherwise renewable resources. While this argument may seem to support the continued use of licensing and franchise agreements, it is actually identifying them as barriers to market entry. Therefore, Werbach ( 2002 ) specifies that future policy should foster cooperation among incumbents and new market entrants by promoting the
33 research and development of unlicensed wireless technology, designating additional spectrum for unlicensed uses, and eliminating restrictions on non intrusive underlay techniques like low power FM. If such policy existed today, the reduced regulation encompassed therein would, perhaps, facilitate sufficient competition in all areas of t elecommunications to warrant a more complete deregulation of the industry. Mobilizing the P ublic toward D eregulation Despite the strengths of the technical arguments, they merely support the socioeconomic motivations that drive the current public policy d ebate over deregulation. On one hand, there is a strong argument for the continued role of regulation in the telecommunications industry for its protection of both the industry and the public; on the other, a call to deregulate the industry to promote con sumer choice and fair competition. Both sides represent benefits and constraints for both the industry and the public, the public interest free market spectrum. Ho wever, contrary to the complex debate presented by scholars and government advisory committees, several deregulation interest groups have turned to astroturf lobbying tactics to promote unfettered and one sided telecommunications deregulation in favor of t he telecommunications industry. PR Watch ( 2006 ) has singled out the three interest groups discussed here FreedomWorks, the Progress and Freedom for Economic Liberty and Property Rights for promulgating the benefits that deregulation brings to the industry and the public without sufficiently weighing the public interest consequences of turning the industry over to the free market ( PR Watch, 2006 ) However, there has been little research to examine the impacts that these organizations have on public policy,
34 whether through the use of astroturf strategies to mobilize voters to influence polic ymakers or through media relations campaigns, which could reach voters and policy makers simultaneously. FreedomWorks Of these three organizations, FreedomWorks, deserves particular attention owing its persistence in this method of lobbying despite criticism by political scholars and legislators, and its strong affiliation with the emerging Tea Party ( "Legislative T ransparency and Accountability Act of 2006," 2006 ; "Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007," 2007 ; Silverstein, 1998 ; Silverstein & Taylor, 2007 ) According to its Web site, www.freedomworks.org: Taxes and government regulation slow down the growth of technological innovation. Government lawsuits against high tech developers h amper the pace of innovation while costing the taxpayer money. Outdated government regulations pigeonhole companies especially telephone companies and make it difficult for them to react in a dynamic marketplace. This position statement, found on the o Communication and Technology: Issue Homepage synthesizes the deregulation debate into two basic prongs that outdated regulation is both creating an undue financial burden on the taxpaying public and preventing legacy monopolies from freely c ompeting in the current articles regarding telecommunications policy, in which the author argues that local cable franchising has become obsolete. In the article Assessing the Case for Cable Franchise Reform Diane Katz ( 2007, April 2 ) of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy points out the negative effects of technological advances on cable franchise regulations. ( 2007, April 2 ) article presents an example of the asymmetrical message construction indicative of lobbies engaged in astroturf mobilization. The majority of the
35 article focuses on the negative aspects of local cable franchise regulation particularly their tendency to cause artificially high cable rates by passing franchise fees directly to cable consumers and the low quality of customer service caused by the complacency of franchise holders. She goes on to argue that the cost of complying with franchise requirements equivalent to those imposed on incumbents effectively prevents wire line and broadband competitors from entering t he market even though federal law prohibits exclusive franchising of incumbent cable providers. Furthermore, Katz ( 2007, April 2 ) ( 2001 ) argument that the mere existence of new entrants to the cable market justifies a relaxation of franchise r equirements, which were initially intended to regulate the rates set by the natural monopolies that no longer exist. As these monopolies disappear, so does the need for franchise regulation, and disappearing franchise regulation, according to Katz ( 2007, April 2 ) and her interpretation of a 2004 study by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), has so far resulted in reduced rates and increased service quality. Meanwhile, reduced franchise obligations encourage new entrants and non subscribers to enter the video market resulting in a larger subscriber base that more than accounts for the lost fees of competitively reduced rates. In turn, the additional video providers and consumers bring in additional franchise fees and tax revenues while, at the same time, increasing demand for cu stomer service and additional employees. Among the characteristics that make articles such as this one so dangerous in the eyes of communications watch dog groups is the presentation of a persuasive argument clearly favoring unfettered deregulation and see mingly supported by a broad range of sources. Particularly, the Katz article cites research and opinions from the
36 GAO, several academic researchers associated with major universities, nonprofit organizations such as Consumers Union and the Cable Center, a nd the Washington consulting firm Criterion Economics, LLC. While the GAO reports do present a multiplicity of perspectives, the academic research is notably neutral, and Consumers Union is just that a union of consumers and consumer advocates further exa mination into the Web site content provided by the other two organizations is quite biased. The Cable Center, which seems, from its home page, to be a nonprofit educational organization serving the development needs of journalism and telecommunications p rofessionals, is actually a research front for cable networks, cable ( "The story of the Cable Center," 2007 ) provide some level of research and resources to the industry that it serves, as well as the general public. Criterion Economics, on the other hand, was neither a nonprofit organization nor the in a footnote formatted like a citation of an academic journal. However, if readers are sponsor, is a Washington based consulting firm with a client list that includes a range of telecommunications and energy utilities as well as government agencies such as the IRS, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, a United States
37 A 3 The consulting group specializes in litigation, strategy, and public policy. arguments of pro deregulation groups and selectivel y citing only the pro deregulation findings of otherwise objective sources. If a reader finds the resulting article sufficiently Take Action Web site will take him or her to a comprehensive list of Action Alerts that have already been mailed to among them is an Action Alert titled Choose your cable in Ohio Visitors who click that link will be directed to a web form that supplies a message that may be sent to legislators either by email or as a printed letter. As discussed earlier, the visitor may edit the subject or message text and then must insert his or her name and contact information before sending this message to a pre selected list of message recipients that cannot be a ltered. The recipient list for this particular action item, shown in Appendix C, includes Governor Ted Strickland, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, Your State Upper Chamber Representatives, and Your State Lower Chamber Representatives. The Progress and Freedom Foundation In contrast to FreedomWorks write your representative strategy, the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) takes a more academic view acknowledging the necessary role that government regulation plays in society while taking note of tendency is to reach beyond its legitimate functions in ways that harm ( Pro gress and Freedom Foundation 3 S ee http://www .criterioneconomics.com/clients for a client list
38 2007 ) According to its mission statement, PFF ( 2007 ) lectual battle for true deregulation of communications markets, including immediate deregulation of broadband services, and forbearance from regulation of wireless communications and support from telecommunications companies, broadcast networks, cellular companies, and professional telecommunications associations from a variety of countries. Like FreedomWorks, the PFF Web site publishes articles analyzing the public pol icy perspective, including one titled A Model to Analyze Costs and Benefits of Franchise Reform: What Would Reform Mean to Missourians? by PFF research fellow Kent Lassman ( 2006 ) Unlike Katz, Lassman ( 2006 ) acknowledges the range of alternatives that exist in the cable franchise debate, specifically pointing to continued local franchising, implementation of state or federal franchising, or the elimination of franchising altogether; he includes cost estimates for state franchising in Missouri the option he argues is the next step in the deregulation process. el video market by hypothesizing that new entrants into a proposed state wide franchise system would gain market share He then devises a series of cost estimates that w ould be incurred by the state and by the franchise applicants if a state wide franchise system were to be implemented for a three year period. Lassman limits his estimate to that time period due to a general assumption of either an impending federal franc hising regime or sufficient competition to allow the market to regulate itself within three years.
39 proposing a gradual reformation of regulation from the local level, to the state, th en style mirrors that of his organization, which is conservative in both opinions and in its approach to legislative change. Likewise, this Web site lacks the mobilizati on tools available from FreedomWorks, and in exchange, garners the credibility of a neutral, non partisan research facility despite its very clear goal of complete deregulation in favor of a self regulated market. Frontiers of Freedom Alternatively, Fronti ers of Freedom the last of the three astroturf organizations is not concerned with the societal or technological arguments for telecommunications deregulation. Instead, Frontiers of Freedom believes in strict interpretation of the Constitution and the imp osition of limits on the size of government and the power that it may exert ( Frontiers of Freedom, 2007 ) In line with that mission, one of a variety of or ganizational centers dealing with varying aspects of Constitutional regulation is dedicated to protecting economic liberty and private property rights from excessive and ( Frontiers of Fre edom, 2007 ) At the outset, Frontiers of Freedom seems to be a true grassroots organization that provides a forum for individuals interested in policy decisions and concerned about the over extension of government. However, their membership page revea ls a disproportionately strong tie to former Senator Wallop of Wyoming, indicating that members contributing at the $1,000 level or above will be invited to a special retreat at what
40 FreedomWorks is to former House majority leader and current FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey. one sided argument for total deregulation that mirrors his congressional agenda, bu t it tanks. Instead, Frontiers of Freedom presents a weekly column by its president, and such ( Frontiers of Freedom, 2007 ) 19 th century traffi c problems. He claims that the then proposed regulation of horse drawn carriages and their ensuing manure problem was made moot by the technological innovation of the automobile ( Landrith, 2005, May 4 ) Similarly, Landrith ( 2005, May 4 ) believes that cable and telephone regul ation can be averted thanks to the development of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. He argues that IP technology is sufficiently cost effective and widely available that the market can regulate itself, th us allowing all the benefits of increased consumer choice without any of the burdens of government regulation. All three of the astroturf organizations mentioned above present arguments of varying strength for true deregulation. What remains unclear is whether their arguments supporters including Armey, Wallop, and the industry groups with which they sympathize. Of the three organizations, the Progress and Freedom Foundati on seems
41 to cater the most to the public interest, and is also the most transparent in terms of disclosing its supporters. Frontiers of Freedom makes no reference to the public interest on its Web site and fails to list any supporters or affiliates; altho ugh the homepage hosts an annual report link, the link is dead. Somewhere in the middle is FreedomWorks, which lists its supporters and makes reference to its support of the public interest, but does so in a one sided and somewhat deceptive manner. Resear ch Questions Regardless of these organization s abilities to serve the public interest, the true test of their effectiveness is their ability to influence the public policy agenda and public opinion. T he parameters of this study do not allow the researche r to discover causal links between the communications products released by these three astroturf organizations and related stories and testimony in the news media and in the Senate However, this study does allow the researcher to determine whether the me ssage frames used by these organizations in their discussions of telecommunications deregulation are present in related news articles and Congressional testimony. As such, this study will identify the frequency with which these message frames appear and d etermine whether there is any relationship between the appearance of these message frames in news media and in statements made during Congressional hearings. Furthermore, this study will examine whether the communicators using these message frames are mor e likely to favor the deregulation of telecommunications or to oppose it. It should be noted that other organizations may use these frames or competing frames in an effort to shape the debate about telecommunications deregulation. However, an examinatio n of competing frames from other sources is beyond the scope of the present study. This study will limit its scope to these two communications
42 venues print media and Congressional hearings because members of the media and government representatives are tw o of the target audiences identified in the astroturf organizational literature. A content analysis of the frames present in these two sources will allow the researcher to determine whether they address the telecommunications deregulation debate within th e same framework and to what extent their positions align with that of the astroturf organizations. Citizens and voters comprise the remaining target audience identified in the astroturf organizational literature, but, in the absence of content to analyze a study of the impact of framing on this audience would require a survey methodology. As a result, an ex am i n ation of the framing effects on this audience is also beyond the scope of the present study. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to answer t he following research questions: RQ1: How frequently do message frames used by these astroturf organizations to discuss telecommunications deregulation appear in news articles? RQ2: How frequently do message frames used by these astroturf organization s to discuss telecommunications deregulation appear in the record of Congressional hearings ? RQ3: Is there any correlation between the appearance of message frames in news articles and during Congressional hearings? RQ4: Are communicators who support o r oppose the deregulation of telecommunications more or less likely to use the same message frames as these astroturf organizations? CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY All three organizations studied here provide information for the press and the general public regar ding the implications of deregulation, and all three seek to influence the media and to mobilize the public to influence their government representatives
43 sites to support the effectiveness of their astroturf mobilization campaigns as opposed to traditional lobbying campaigns and the researcher did not find any extant scholarship regarding the effectiveness of these astroturf campaigns For that reason, it would be helpful to explore the ways in which the astroturf organizations use message frames to influence audiences and whether their messages have been utilized by these audiences particularly the media legislators or industry experts testifying in front of Congress. Therefore, for the purposes of the present study, the researcher read the position statements and press releases published by FreedomWorks, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, and Frontiers of Freedom to determine how these organizations frame d messages r elated to the telecommunications deregulation debate This brief was supposed to be a pilot study conducted with the goal of identifying message frames within statements directe d at both the press and the general public that were published between January 1, 2005 and January 16, 2007. This specific time period was chosen for full deregulation Media Ownership Rules ( F ederal Communications Commission 2006 ; FreedomWorks, 2007 ; Frontiers of Freedom, 2007 ; Progress and Freedom Foundation 2007 ) During t h is time, the astroturf organizations studied h ere disseminated daily messages regarding telecommunications deregulation and the Ownership Rules The rules under review at th at time are specifically relevant to this study because they
44 all addressed ownership limits and bans that effectively prevented telecommunications companies from freely competing under the sole regulation of the market. This would be pilot study focused on the deregulation literature disseminated by these organizations with the intention of identifying a set of message frames that appeared consistently throughout organizational literature during the stated time period. After an examination of the three o population of 127 opinion articles, open letters, press releases, and research studies that were written by organization members and employees and that were relevant to the telecommunications deregulatio n debate. The following list of message frames related to this issue emerged: Deregulation provides an economic benefit to taxpayers. Regulation threatens free market enterprise. Regulation wastes government/taxpayer financial resources. Regulators are re sponsible for necessitating that telecommunications companies transfer regulatory costs to consumers. Regulation is responsible for impeding technological growth. Regulation inhibits/limits consumer choice among telecommunications services. The researcher intended to conduct a complete content analysis of the population of astroturf organizational literature. However, these documents were removed from the 2006 Review of the Media Ownership Rules and before the resea rcher had the opportunity to c ondu c t t h e full analysis. P ( de Vreese, 2005 ) Therefore, in order to maintain the relevance of this study and to allow
45 comparisons with other message framing studies, these issue frames will be categorized under two commonly acknowledged generic frames the economic consequences frame and the attribution of responsibility frame that have been found, among others, to be consistently present throughout the framing literature ( de Vreese, 2005 ; Neuman, et al., 1992 ; Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000 ; Valkenburg, et al., 1999 ) The first three issue frames will be operationalized as sub frames of the economic consequ ences generic frame ; these issue frames include (1) deregulation provides a n economic benefit to taxpayers, (2) regulation t hreatens free market enterprise, (3) regulation wastes government/taxpayer financial resources. T he last three issue frames will be operationalized as sub frames of the attribution of responsibility generic frame ; these issue frames include (1) r egulators are responsible for necessitating that telecommunications companies transfe r regulatory costs to consumers, (2) r egulation is respo nsible fo r impeding technological growth, (3) r egulation inhibits/limits consumer choice among telecommunications services. Once generic frames and issue frames were determined the researcher developed a content analysis of media coverage and Congressiona l records related to the telecommunications deregulation debate during the stated time period. This analysis allowed the researcher to identify the presence of generic frames and issue frames in media coverage and Congressional records. The media portion of the analysis was limited to print news sources because, as Kiousis et al. ( 2006 ) articulated in their study on agenda content across media outlets can present study, a sample of print news was selected by searching the LexisNexis
46 Academic database for news articles relating to telecommunications regulation/deregulation, media ownership, telecommuni cations competition, and net neutrality during the selected time period. The researcher did not control for the type of news source producing the articles and did not distinguish between mainstream and marginal news sources. However, the news sources inc luded in the LexisNexis search results could all be categorized as mainstream newspapers, industry news outlets, and wire services. 1 After the population of news articles was compiled, the articles were analyzed to determine whether the generic frames iden tified earlier economics and attribution of responsibility were present in the media. Then, to examine the presence of these message frames in statements made to and by members of Congress during the specified time period, a sample of legislative and poli cy documents was selected by searching the LexisNexis Congressional database to identify a population of policy documents relevant to this study. These documents were analyzed to determine whether the generic frames are present in statements made and test imony given during Congressional hearings. In total, the researcher found 246 print news articles and 313 Congressional and FCC documents that are relevant to the research questions above and were published between January 1, 2005 and January 16, 2007. Th e researcher, along with two additional coders, analyzed the full population of news articles. However, the length of the legislative documents most of which were records of Congressional hearings comprising statements made by twenty speakers or more requ ired that the coders limit 1 Refer to Tables 3 1 to 3 3 for a full list of news sources included in the news population.
47 their evaluation to a random sample of the Congressional population. Initially, the researcher intended to analyze 20% of the population of policy documents. Once each document was numbered, the researcher used the Social Psych Research Randomizer ( Urbaniak & Plous, 2011 ) to identify the research sample Then, each document that represented a record of a Congressional hearing was subdivided by speaker which means that each statement or testimony contained within the hear ing record was designated as a separate unit of analysis identified by the individual or individuals to which the text was attributed However, the remaining sample was extensive and the researcher determined that a smaller sample would provide sufficient data for analysis. The Research Randomizer ( Urbaniak & Plous, 2011 ) was used again to reduce the sample size to 16% (n=51). At the end of this process, the final Congressional sample subdivided by speaker, included 378 separate statements. Each statement is co nsidered to be an individual unit of analysis The total research sample of 624 news articles and statements made during Congressional hearings was divided among the three coders for review. Each coder was directed to use a standardized code sheet 2 to in dicate the presence or absence of each frame and the valence, if applicable. Coders read each document, in its entirety, to determine whether the economic generic frame was present (1) or absent (2) and whether the attribution of responsibility generic fr ame was present (1) or absent (2). If the presence of a generic frame was detected, then the document was coded for the valence of the frame whether the framed argument was against deregulation (3), neutral (4), or in favor of deregulation (5) and for th e presence (1) or absence (2) of 2 See Appendix A for the code sheet and Appendix B for the code book used for this study.
48 each issue sub frame and whether the issue sub frame was against deregulation (3) or in favor of deregulation (5). Please note that astroturf organizations did not use neutral frames. In reviewing the message frames used by the astroturf organizations, the researcher only noted frames that favored deregulation. Due to this inherent bias, coders were instructed to identify issue frames that favored deregulation and were therefore consistent with the astroturf issue frames and issue frames that did not favor deregulation and therefore represented a null version of the initial issue frame. Researchers did not code for neutral issue frames because neutral frames were not present in the astroturf organizational literature, whi ch, in retrospect, limits the conclusions that the researcher was able to draw from this study Following the intercoder reliability methods used by Kiousis et al. ( 2006 ) a randomly selected subsample of news art icles and policy documents was isolated ( Urbaniak & Plous, 2011 ) to verify intercoder reliability. At the beginning of the coding process, a reliability sample comprising 20% of the research sample w as isolated, divided into three parts, and assigned to three reliability coders. One of the coders dropped out of the project prior to completing any work and the remaining two reliability coders participated in code book training sessions prior to analyz ing their initial coding assignments. The remaining reliability sample included 13% (n= 33 ) of the news population and 10% (n=41) of the units of analysis from the Congressional sample As in the study conducted by Kiousis et al. (2006), reliability was c alculated using The full reliability sample of legislative documents was tested by one reliability coder and the reliability
49 sample of news documents was divided between two reliability coder s. Each document in the reliability sample was also coded by the researcher. Separate reliability data legislative documents analyzed by the researcher and reliability co der 1 (RC1), news documents analyzed by the researcher and RC1, and news document analyzed by the researcher and reliability coder 2 (RC2). Then, the reliability of each question on
50 Table 3 1 Newspapers i ncluded in the n ews p opulation Source Web Site Type # of Articles Atlanta Journal Constitution http://www.ajc.com/ Newspaper 4 Austin American Statesman http://www.statesman.com/ Newspaper 6 Bangor Daily News http://new.bangord ailynews.com/ Newspaper 2 Birmingham News http://www.bhamnews.com/ Newspaper 2 Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/ Newspaper 1 Boston Herald http://www.bostonherald.com/ Newspaper 1 Buffalo News http://www.buffalonews.com/ Newspaper 1 Charleston Gazet te http://wvgazette.com/ Newspaper 1 Chattanooga Times Free Press http://www.timesfreepress.com/ Newspaper 1 Chicago Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Newspaper 3 Daily Iowan http://www.dailyiowan.com/ Newspaper 1 Daily News, Ball State U. http:// www.bsudailynews.com/ Newspaper 1 Daily Press (McClatchy Tribune) http://www.vvdailypress.com/ Newspaper 1 Daily Texan http://www.dailytexanonline.com/ Newspaper 1 Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/ Newspaper 2 Fresno Bee http://www.fresnobee.com/ Newspaper 1 Grand Rapids Press http://www.mlive.com/grpress/ Newspaper 4 Herald News http://www.northjersey.com/ Newspaper 1 Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com/ Newspaper 3 Indianapolis Business Journal http://www.ibj.com/ Newspaper 3 Intelligence r Journal http://lancasteronline.com/ Newspaper 1 Journal Record http://journalrecord.com/ Newspaper 2 Kansas City Daily Record http://molawyersmedia.com Newspaper 2 Las Vegas Review Journal http://www.lvrj.com/ Newspaper 2 Michigan Daily http://www.mi chigandaily.com/ Newspaper 2 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com/ Newspaper 2 Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/chronicle/ Newspaper 1 National Journal, The (The HotLine) http://services.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ Newspaper Blog 1 New York Sun http://www.nysun.com/ Newspaper 2 New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/ Newspaper 13 News Sentinel (Knight/Ridder Tribune) http://www.news sentinel.com/ Newspaper 1 Philadelphia Inquirer http://www.philly.com/ Newspaper 6 Pittsburgh Pos t Gazette http://www.post gazette.com/ Newspaper 1 Press Enterprise http://www.pe.com/ Newspaper 1 Pueblo Chieftain (McClatchy Tribune) http://www.chieftain.com/ Newspaper 1 Record, The http://www.northjersey.com/ Newspaper 1 Richmond Times Dispatch ht tp://www2.timesdispatch.com/ Newspaper 3 San Antonio Express News http://www.mysanantonio.com/ Newspaper 1 Santa Fe New Mexican http://www.santafenewmexican.com/ Newspaper 2 Seattle Post Intelligencer, The http://www.seattlepi.com/ Newspaper 1 Seattle Times http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ho me/index.html Newspaper 1 Seattle Weekly http://www.seattleweekly.com/ Newspaper 1 South Bend Tribune http://www.southbendtribune.com/ Newspaper 5 St. Charles County Business Record http://molawyersmedia.com Newspaper 1 St. Petersburg Times http://www.tampabay.com/ Newspaper 2 Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/ Newspaper 1 State Journal Register http://www.sj r.com/ Newspaper 2 Telegraph Herald http://www.thonline.com/ Newspaper 2
51 Table 3 1 Conti nued Source Web Site Type # of Articles Tulsa World http://www.tulsaworld.com/ Newspaper 6 USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/ Newspaper 3 Virginian Pilot http://thevirginianpilot.com/ Newspaper 1 Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Newspaper 7 Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/ Newspaper 4 Winston Salem Journal http://www2.journalnow.com/ Newspaper 1 Wyoming Tribune Eagle http://www.wyomingnews.com/ Newspaper 1 Table 3 2 Industry n ews s ources i ncluded in the n ews p opulati on Source Web Site Type # of Articles Business http://www.chicagobusiness.com/ Industry News, Business 1 http://www.crainsdetroit.com/ Industry News, Business 3 Daily Deal/The Deal http://www.TheDeal.com Industry News, Finance 17 Investor's Business Daily http://www.investors.com/ Industry News, Finance 1 Metropolitan Corporate Counsel http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/ Industry News, Law 1 Network World http://www.networkworld.com/ Industry News, Telecommunicati ons 1 RCR Wireless News http://www.rcrwireless.com/ Industry News, Wireless Technology 2 Roll Call http://www.rollcall.com/ Industry News, Politics 1 Tech News http://www.technews.org/ Industry News, Technology 2 Television Week http://www.tvweek.com/ Industry News, TV 7 The Hill http://thehill.com/ Industry News, Politics 1 The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ Industry News, Entertainment 15 Variety http://www.variety.com Industry News, Entertainment 4 Table 3 3 Wire s ervices i ncluded in the n ews p opulation Source Web Site Type # of Articles Associated Press http://www.ap.org/ Wire Service 30 Business Wire http://www.businesswire.com Wire Service 1 Copley News Service www.copleynews.com Wire Service 2 Cox News Service http ://www.coxmediagroup.com/about/ Wire Service 8 Market Wire http://www.marketwire.com/ Wire Service 1 PR Newswire US http://www.prnewswire.com Wire Service 17 States News Service Not Found Wire Service 1 The Frontrunner http://www.bulletinnews.com/front runner.aspx Wire Service 1 The White House Bulletin http://www.bulletinnews.com/ Wire Service 2 UPI http://www.upi.com/ Wire Service 3
52 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS After several training sessions over the course of one academic semester, coders reached a reliabil ity coefficient of .70 or above or demonstrated 100% agreement and the researcher proceeded to analyze the remaining sample. 1 A t the conclusion of this analysis, the resulting raw data was uploaded into SPSS to analyze the frequency with which the messag e frames in this study appeared in the research sample and whether there was a significant relationship between the valence of each document and the use of the issue frames noted above. Then the data was aggregated, and the researcher to identify correlations between the presence of message frames in policy documents and the news media (r=0.868, p<0.01) Finally, the researcher intended to test for correlations between the valence of each document and the generic and issue frames used However, message frames were not present with sufficient frequency to conduct any statistical analysis and no significant correlation could be determined. Inter coder Reliability I n order to determine inter coder reliability, the researcher analyzed sever al sets of reliability data. The first set of reliability data included the 49 legislative documents analyzed by the researcher and RC1. Each coder answered 12 questions relating to formula to the legislative documents analyzed by the researcher and RC1, a 95% agreement was found between the two coders [ R=2(557)/1176=0.95 ] 2 T he percentage of agreement 1 Refer to Tables 4 1 to 4 4 for reliability coefficients. 2 Refer to Table 4 1
53 between the researcher and RC1 was calculated for each message frame on the code sheet as well as for the valence of the generic message frames and the reliability of each of these items was tested 3 This additional reliability test was conducted in order to calculate reliability beyond that which is expected by chanc e (Wimmer & Dominick, 2006). The researcher calculated separate coefficients for each message frame on the code sheet as well as the valence of the generic message frames to ensure that the reliability for each of these items would be considered acceptabl e. The following items were tested: the economic generic frame (88% agreement, pi=0.7216), the valence of the economic generic frame (98% agreement, pi[1A]=0.9533), the economic benefit to taxpayers issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1B]=0), the threat t o free market enterprise issue frame (96% agreement, pi[1C]=0.7833), the waste of government/taxpayer financial resources issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1D]=0), the attribution of responsibility generic frame (96% agreement, pi=0.9181), the valence of the attribution of responsibility generic frame (92% agreement, pi[2A]=0.8511), the transfer of regulatory costs to consumers issue frame (98% agreement, pi[2B]=0.8478), the impeding technological growth issue frame (92% agreement, pi[2C]=0.7134), and the inhibiting/limiting consumer choice issue frame (98% agreement, pi[2D]=0.9384). 4 The second set of reliability data included the 18 news documents analyzed by the researcher and RC1. Again, each coder answered 12 questions relating to each article, creat 3 Refer to Table 4 2 4 0, coders were in exact agreement, but the values for observed and expected agreement were the same.
54 documents analyzed by the researcher and RC1, a 99% agreement was found between the two coders [R= 2(213)/432=0.99]. 5 Then, separate coefficients for each message frame on the code sheet and for the valence of the generic message frames w ere calculated again 6 The following items were tested: the economic generic frame (94% agreement, pi=0.8517), the valence of the economic generic frame (100% agreement, pi[1A]= 1), the economic benefit to taxpayers issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1B]=1), the threat to free market enterprise issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1C]=1), the waste of government/taxpayer financial resources issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1D]=1), the attr ibution of responsibility generic frame (94% agreement, pi=0.8225), the valence of the attribution of responsibility generic frame (94% agreement, pi[2A]=0.8225), the transfer of regulatory costs to consumers issue frame (100% agreement, pi[2B]=0), the impeding technological growth issue frame (100% agreement, pi[2C]=1), and the inhibiting/limiting consumer choice issue frame (100% agreement, pi[2D]=1). The third set of reliability data included the 15 news documents analyzed by the researcher and RC2. Again, each coder answered 12 questions relating to each article, documents analyzed by the researcher and RC2, a 97% agreement was found between the two coders [R= 2(175)/360=0 .97]. 7 Then, separate coefficients for each message frame on the code sheet as well as the valence of the generic message frames were 5 Refer to Table 4 1 6 Refer to Tables 4 3 7 Refer to Table 4 1
55 8 The following items were tested: the economic generic frame (93% agreement, pi=0.8136) the valence of the economic generic frame (100% agreement, pi[1A]=0), the economic benefit to taxpayers issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1B]=0), the threat to free market enterprise issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1C]=0), the waste of government/taxpayer financial resources issue frame (100% agreement, pi[1D]=0), the attribution of responsibility generic frame (87% agreement, pi=0.7322), the valence of the attribution of responsibility generic frame (93% agreement, pi[2A]=0.8245), the transfer of regula tory costs to consumers issue frame (100% agreement, pi[2B]=0), the impeding technological growth issue frame (100% agreement, pi[2C]=0), and the inhibiting/limiting consumer choice issue frame (93% agreement, pi[2D]=0.7599). Results of the Full Sample T he full sample included 246 news articles and 378 statements made during Congressional hearings. In cases where two coders analyzed the same document, the data collected by the primary researcher was used in the analysis. The first research question aske d: How frequently do message frames used by these astroturf organizations to discuss telecommunications deregulation appear in news articles? And the second research question asked: How frequently do message frames used by these astroturf organizations to discuss telecommunications deregulation appear in the record of Congressional hearings ? Table 4 5 reports the frequency with which the two generic frames and six issue frames used by FreedomWorks, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, and Frontiers of 8 Refer to Table 4 4
56 Property Rights to discuss telecommunications deregulation appear in news articles RQ1 and the frequency with which these frames appear in records of Congressional hearings RQ2. Table 4 5 reports that the Economic Consequences generic frame was present in 24% (n=59) of the news population and 26% (n=98) of the Congressional sample. However, the economic issue frames used specifically by the astroturf organizations studied here appeared much less frequently than the Economic Consequences generic frame The e conomic b enefit to t axpayers issue frame was not present at all in the news population (n=0), but was present in 0.8% (n=3) of the Congressional sample. The t hreat to f ree m arket e nterprise issue frame was prese nt in 1% (n=3) of the news population and 4% (n=16) of the Congressional sample. The w aste of g overnment/ t axpayer f inancial r esources issue frame was present in 0.4% (n=1) of the news population and 0.3% (n=1) of the Congressional sample. Moving on to the next set of frames, Table 4 5 also reports that the Attribution of Responsibility generic frame was present in 15% (n=38) of the news population and 31% (n=116) of the Congressio nal sample Again, though, the issue frames related to the attribution of re sponsibility generic frame appeared much less frequently than the related generic frame The issue frame attributing responsibility to regulators for necessitating that telecommunications companies transfer regulatory costs to consumers was not present at all in the news population (n=0), but was present in 1% (n=5) of the Congressional sample. The issue frame attributing responsibility to regulation for impeding technological growth was present in 0.4% (n=1) of the news population and 3% (n=13) of the Co ngressional sample. The issue frame attributing
57 responsibility to regulation for inhibiting/limiting consumer choice among telecommunications services was present in 3% (n=8) of the news population and 6% (n=21) of the Congressional sample. The third rese arch question asked: Is there any correlation between the appearance of message frames in news articles and during Congressional hearings? Further analysis, using PASW Statistics 18, indicated that there is a statisti cally significant correlation between the presence or absence of these message frames in news articles and the presence or absence of these frames in statements and testimony included in the Congressional record This is repor ted in Table 4 6 is significant at the 0.01 level (p<0.01) The fourth research question asked: Are communicators who support or oppose the deregulation of telecommunications more or less likely to use the same message frames as these astroturf organizat ions? In order to answer this question the researcher intended to conduct a chi square analysis to determine whether a relationship exists between the overall valence of an article, statement, or testimony whether or not the article favored deregulation and the presence or absence of each message frame. However, there was not enough statistical variance in the sample to produce significant results and, therefore, no relationship could be determined. Instead, Tables 4 7 to 4 18 report the frequency with which frames were present in documents with positive, neutral, or negative valence. Please note that, valence was only coded for a document if one or both of the generic frames were present. This methodology was used because the issue frames
58 were operation alized as sub frames of the generic frames. Therefore an issue frame could only be present if the associated generic frame was also present. Furthermore, issue frames, as identified in the astroturf organizational literature, intrinsically contained vale nce in favor of deregulation. Although, in order to obtain a larger picture of the use of these frames, the coders searched for both the presence of the frames as they appeared in the astroturf organizational literature, and the null frames messages that were framed the same way but with an opposite valence which took a stance against deregulation. Thus, every time an issue frame was coded as present in a document, the frame was also indicated to be positive in favor of deregulation or negative against de regulation but never neutral. It was, however, possible for the overall tone of an article containing one or both generic frames to be positive, negative, or neutral, regardless of the presence or absence of issue frames. Thus, in attempting to identify a relationship between article valence and the presence or absence of issue frames, the researcher isolated the documents within the sample that included either generic frame. Four sub sets of documents emerged. The first set included documents from the news population in which the Economic Consequences generic frame was present (n=59). 9 The second set included documents from the Congressional sample in which the Economic Consequences generic frame was present (n=98). 10 The third set included documents from the news population in which the Attribution of Responsibility generic frame was present (n=38). 11 9 Refer to Tables 4 7, 4 8, and 4 9 10 Refer to Tables 4 10, 4 11 and 4 12 11 Refer to Tables 4 13, 4 14, and 4 15
59 The fourth set included documents from the Congressional sample in which the Attribution of Responsibility generic frame was present (n=116). 12 Of the 5 9 documents in the news population in which the Economic Consequences generic frame was found to be present, 4 documents exhibited a negative valence and took a stance against deregulation, 48 documents were neutral, and 7 documents exhibited a positive va lence and favored deregulation. None of these articles contained the economic benefit to taxpayers issue frame. Three articles contained the threat to free market enterprise issue frame; 1 of these articles exhibited a negative valence and 2 of these art icles exhibited a positive valence. One article contained the waste of government/taxpayer financial resources issue frame and it exhibited a positive valence. The frequency with which the economic issue frames were present in the news population and the valence of these frames are presented in T ables 4 7, 4 8, and 4 9. Of the 98 documents in the Congressional sample in which the Economic Consequences generic frame was found to be present, 28 documents exhibited a negative valence and took a stance again st deregulation, 52 documents were neutral, and 18 documents exhibited a positive valence and favored deregulation. Three of these documents contained the economic benefit to taxpayers issue frame; 1 of these documents exhibited a negative valence and 2 o f these documents exhibited a positive valence. Sixteen of these documents contained the threat to free market enterprise issue frame; 9 of these documents exhibited a negative valence and 16 of these documents exhibited a positive valence. One document contained the w aste of 12 Refer to Tables 4 16, 4 17, and 4 18
60 government/taxpayer financial resources issue frame and it exhibited a positive valence. The frequency with which the economic issue frames were present in the Congressional sample and the valence of these frames are presented in T a bles 4 10, 4 11, and 4 12. Of the 38 articles in the news population in which the Attribution of Responsibility generic frame was found to be present, 18 articles exhibited a negative valence and took a stance against deregulation, 11 articles were neutral and 9 articles exhibited a positive valence and favored deregulation. None of these articles contained the transfer of regulatory costs to consumers issue frame. One article contained the impeding technological growth issue frame and this article exhib ited a positive v alence. Eight articles contained the inhibiting/limiting consumer choice issue frame; 5 of these articles exhibited a negative valence and 3 of these articles exhibited a positive valence. The frequency with which the attribution of resp onsibility issue frames were present in the news population and the valence of the se frames are presented in the T ables 4 13, 4 14, and 4 15. Of the 116 documents in the Congressional sample in which the Attribution of Responsibility generic frame was foun d to be present, 34 documents exhibited a negative valence and took a stance against deregulation, 62 documents were neutral, and 20 documents exhibited a positive valence and favored deregulation. Five documents contained the transfer of regulatory costs to consumers issue frame; 2 of these documents exhibited a negative valence and 3 of these documents exhibited a positive valence. Twelve documents contained the impeding technological growth issue frame; 4 of these documents exhibited a negative valence and 8 of these documents exhibited a positive valence. Twenty one documents contained the inhibiting/limiting
61 consumer choice issue frame; 11 of these documents exhibited a negative valence and 10 of these documents exhibited a positive valence. The fre quency with which the attribution of responsibility issue frames were present in the Congressional sample and the valence of these frames are presented in T ables 4 16, 4 17, and 4 18. Based on this data, none of the message frames were present with suffici ent frequency to produce statistically significant results. Therefore, this study cannot determine whether a relationship exists between the valence of an article and the presence or absence of the issue frames studied here.
62 Table 4 1 Holsti's r eliabi lity c oefficient Reliability Sample Potential Agreements Actual Agreements Reliability Coefficient RC1 (Congressional) 588 557 R=0.95 RC1 (News) 216 213 R=0.99 RC2 (News only) 180 175 R=0.97 Table 4 2 Scott's pi; RC1 (Congressional s ample) Code Sh eet # Observed Agreement Expected Agreement Reliability Coefficient 1 0.8776 0.5603 p=0.7216 1A 0.9796 0.5633 p=0.9533 1B 1 1 p=0 1C 0.9492 0.8117 p=0.7833 1D 1 1 p=0 2 0.9592 0.5018 p=0.9181 2A 0.9184 0.4519 p=0.8511 2B 0.9796 0.8660 p=0.8478 2C 0.9184 0.7153 p=0.7134 2D 0.9796 0.6686 p=0.9384 Table 4 3 Scott's pi; RC1 ( n ews p opulation) Code Sheet # Observed Agreement Expected Agreement Reliability Coefficient 1 0.9444 0.6250 p= 0.8517 1A 1 0.8024 p= 1 1B 1 0.9460 p= 1 1C 1 0.8951 p= 1 1D 1 0.8951 p= 1 2 0.9444 0.6867 p= 0.8225 2A 0.9444 0.6867 p= 0.8225 2B 1 1 p= 0 2C 1 0.8951 p= 1 2D 1 0.8951 p= 1
63 Table 4 4 Scott's pi; RC2 ( n ews p opulation o nly) Observed Agreement Expected Agreement Reliability Coefficient 1 0.9333 0.6422 p= 0.8136 1A 1 1 p= 0 1B 1 1 p= 0 1C 1 1 p= 0 1D 1 1 p= 0 2 0.8667 0.5022 p= 0.7322 2A 0.9333 0.6200 p= 0.8245 2B 1 1 p= 0 2C 1 1 p= 0 2D 0.9333 0.7222 p= 0.7599 Table 4 5 Frequency of m essage f rames in the s ample Frame: Frequency of F rame in N ews A rticles (RQ 1): Frequency of F rame in Congressional R ecords (RQ2): Economic consequences generic frame 24% n=59 26% n=98 Deregulation provides/does not provide a n economic benefit to taxpayers 0 % n=0 0.8% n=3 Regulation threatens/ does not threaten free market ente rprise 1% n=3 4% n=16 Regulation wastes/does not waste government or taxpayer financial resources 0.4% n=1 0.3% n=1 Attribution of responsibility generic frame 15% n=38 31% n=116 Regulators are/are not responsible for necessitating that telecommunicatio ns companies transfe r regulatory costs to consumers 0 % n=0 1% n=5 Regulation is/is not responsible for impeding techn ological growth 0.4% n=1 3% n=13 Regulation does/does not inhibit or limit consumer choice am ong telecommunications services 3% n=18 6% n =21
64 Table 4 6 Correlation between f rames p resent in the n ews p opulation and the Congressional s ample News Articles Congressional Records News Articles Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .868 Sig. (2 tailed) .005 N 8 8 Congressional Records Correla tion Coefficient .868 1.000 Sig. (2 tailed) .005 N 8 8 Table 4 7 Economic b enefit to t axpayers ( n ews p opulation ) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 0 0 0 0 Absent 4 48 7 59 Total 4 48 7 59 Table 4 8 Threat to f ree m arket e nterprise ( n ews p opulation ) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 1 0 2 3 Absent 3 48 5 56 Total 4 48 7 59
65 Table 4 9 Waste of g overnment/ t axpayer f inancial r esourc es ( n ews p opulation ) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 0 0 1 1 Absent 4 48 6 58 Total 4 48 7 59 Table 4 10 Economic b enefit to t axpayers (Congressional s ample) Negative Against Deregulation Ne utral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 1 0 2 3 Absent 27 52 16 95 Total 28 52 18 98 Table 4 11 Threat to f ree m arket e nterprise (Congressional s ample) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Presen t 9 0 7 16 Absent 19 52 11 82 Total 28 52 18 98 Table 4 12 Waste of g overnment/ t axpayer f inancial r esources (Congressional s ample) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 0 0 1 1 Absent 28 52 17 97 To tal 28 52 18 98 Table 4 13 Transfer of r egulatory c osts to c onsumers ( n ews p opulation ) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 0 0 0 0 Absent 18 11 9 38 Total 18 11 9 38
66 Table 4 14 Impeding t echnolog ical g rowth ( n ews p opulation ) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 0 0 1 1 Absent 18 11 8 37 Total 18 11 9 38 Table 4 15 Inhibiting/ l imiting c onsumer c hoice ( n ews p opulation ) Negative Against Dere gulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 5 0 3 8 Absent 13 11 6 30 Total 18 11 9 38 Table 4 16 Transfer of r egulatory c osts to c onsumers (Congressional s ample) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregula tion Total Present 2 0 3 5 Absent 32 62 17 111 Total 34 62 20 116 Table 4 17 Impeding t echnological g rowth (Congressional s ample) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 4 0 8 12 Absent 30 62 12 104 Total 34 62 20 116 Table 4 18 Inhibiting/ l imiting c onsumer c hoice (Congressional s ample) Negative Against Deregulation Neutral Positive Favors Deregulation Total Present 11 0 10 21 Absent 23 62 10 95 Total 34 62 20 116
67 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Initially, the purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of astroturf mobilization campaigns and the messages that they use. However, before analyzing such a broad topic, it seemed pertinent to identify a single issue telecommunications dere gulation and to seek a better understanding of the way in which astroturf organizations frame their messages about this issue and whether these organizations frame messages the same way as other speakers who actively debate the same issue. Therefore, the current study examined the frequency with which message frames used by astroturf organizations were present in print news articles relevant to this issue and the frequency with which these frames were present in statements made during Congressional hearin gs about this issue. Once that information had been gathered, the researcher was able to determine whether or not there is any relationship between astroturf messages and mainstream messages relating to telecommunications deregulation, whether there is an y relationship between messages from the media and messages in the Congressional hearing record, and whether there is any relationship communicator chooses to frame the message. Revi ew of Research Questions In order to complete that task, the researcher posed four research questions. The first research question asked: How frequently do message frames used by these astroturf organizations to discuss telecommunications deregulation a ppear in news articles? After a content analysis of generic and issue frames used by the organizations mentioned above, this study found that the Economic Consequences generic frame was
68 present in 24% (n=59) of the news articles and the Attribution of Res ponsibility generic frame was present in 15% (n=38) of the news articles. The issue frames, however, were present with much less frequency. Two of the issue frames Economic Benefit to Taxpayers and Transferring Regulatory Costs to Consumers were not pres ent in the news population at all. The remaining issue frames were present in 1% or less of the population. The second research question asked: How frequently do message frames used by these astroturf organizations to discuss telecommunications deregul ation appear in Congressional testimony? Again, this study found that the generic frames were present much more frequently than the issue frames. The Economic Consequences generic frame was present in 26% (n=98) of the Congressional sample and the Attrib ution of Responsibility generic frame was present in 31% (n=116) of the Congressional sample. Once more, the presence of issue frames in this sample was low with frequency ranging from 0.3% 6% of the sample. This data indicates that the message frames used by astroturf organizations are generally not used by the news media or in statements made by industry experts, scholars, or members of Congress during Congressional hearings The third research question asked: Is there any correlation between the app earance of message frames in news articles and during Congressional hearings? While this question does not directly address the purpose of this study which was to determine a relationship between astroturf messages and messages in mainstream communication s venues rather than that between news and Congressional messages it does provide some insight into the broader telecommunications deregulation debate.
69 In answering this question, the researcher hoped to gain some insight as to whether the frames used by industry experts, legislators, and the media were random or whether there was some common language among speakers in the debate. This data indicates that, al though all of these communicators are discussing the same issue, astroturf communicators choose to frame their messages differently than journalists, poli ticians, and industry experts. However, the latter three groups do demonstrate a similar use of the frames studied here. Based on the data gathered, there is a statistically significant correlation between frame presence in the news population and frame presence in the imply any causal relationships between sources; it simply indicates that some relationship exist s and provides a foundation for future research into the extent and nature of that relationship. Finally, the fourth research question asks: Are communicators who support or oppose the deregulation of telecommunications more or less likely to use the same message frames as these astroturf organizations? There were 71 incidents of issue frame use throughout both samples, usually with multiple incidents per document. Thirty eight of these incidents occurred in documents with a positive valence favoring der egulation and 33 of these incidents occurred in documents with a negative valence against deregulation. Thus, anecdotally, it does not appear as though the valence of the documents examined has any relationship to the presence or absence of the issue fram es. However none of the issue frames were present with sufficient frequency to produce statistically significant results. Therefore, the present study
70 cannot support the existence of a relationship between the valence of an article and the presence or a bsence of the issue frames studied here. Theoretical and Practical Implications In summary, this research indicates that astroturf organizations frame their messages quite differently than other organizational communicators. The message frames used by t hese astroturf organizations suggest that they hold the government responsible for the economic consequences of telecommunications regulation and that government is responsible for resolving these consequences through deregulation of the industry. However journalists, legislators, and industry experts frame their messages in a much more neutral way. On the whole, journalists, legislators, and to any single individual consequences as the astroturf organizations. As such, one might conclude that, during the time frame studied here, these astroturf organizations were not successful in influencing anyone outside of their own membership base and that the members of government representatives. In other words, the astroturf message frames examined in this study failed to shape the inferences tha t individuals in this case, journalists, politicians, and industry experts made about telecommunications deregulation ( Hallahan, 1999 ; Reese, 2007 ) From a theoretical perspective, this study supports earlier research indicating that the use of heuristics rather than systematic information processing is negatively correlated with the strength of beliefs and attitudes, as well as the endurance of the message ( Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994 ; Griffin, et al., 2002 ; Meyers
71 Levy & Maheswaran, 2004 ; Pfau & Wan, 2006 ) While the calculated use of two way asymmetrical communication, heuristic message processing and interpersonal compliance strategies may seem like an appropriate means of advocacy given the goals of these organization s, this approach did not provide a strong enough message to mobilize the target audiences including politicians, industry experts, and the media to advocate for policies that aligned with astroturf organizational objectives. Furthermore, by failing to pr ovide any meaningful avenue for members to respond to astroturf messages or to participate in the process of message construction, astroturf communicators cannot be sure that they are addressing the real versus perceived needs of their membership base. If a critical mass of members should decide to process astroturf messages systematically and find that their true needs were not being met, it is plausible that the target audience would revert to their prior attitudes and behaviors or develop new attitudes and behaviors that are contrary to the interests of the astroturf organization. Since these organizations have not been influential in the media or legislative arenas, th e research er questions their level of influence among their own membership base and h ypothesizes that the use of this type of communication may not be able to provide sustainable attitude or behavior change unless members are offered an opportunity for greater participation in the development of organizational messages. Alternatively, a participatory approach utilizing two way symmetrical communication would be sustainable because, by participating in the astroturf communication process, publics can help shape messages. By doing so, publics become accountable for message content while, a t the same time, ensuring that the
72 message is truly representative of their interests thereby ensuring that the message is credible ( Beder, 1998 ) As a result, astroturf messages would gain legitimacy throug h participation ( Jacobson, 1994 ) Perhaps that is the re ason that astroturf organizations have evolved towards a more participatory approach since the time frame examined in this study. Since 2007, two of the organizations The Progress and Freedom Foundation and Frontiers of Freedom have become much less activ e while the third FreedomWorks has aligned itself with the Tea Party movement. FreedomWorks leaders Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe coauthored the book Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto in 2010 ( Armey & Kibbe, 2010 ) then goes on to advocate for a fundamentalist interpretati on of the Constitution ( Armey & Kibbe, 2010 ) By aligning their grassroots type member ship base with the political ideals and participatory structure of the Tea Party movement, both factions seem to have become stronger and the ideas proffered by FreedomWorks have become more prevalent in current media coverage. Based on the research condu cted by Schwartz ( 2010 ) this phenomenon of alignment occurs when a social movement begins to transition into a political party. Directions for Future Research A lot has changed in the astroturf arena between 2007 and today an d a lot of questions remain unanswered : W hy did these astroturf organizations use these particular message frames when discussing t elecommunications deregulation? How have astroturf messages impact ed target publics and to what end ? How have their messag e frames changed over time? Why are astroturf organizations more successful in mobilizing target publics than they were between 2005 and 2007? While this study
73 cannot begin to answer these questions, it does lead to the hypothesis that astroturf organiza tions may have use d these message frames simply to influence voters to elect candidates that share the same regulatory positions as the astroturf organizations. However, since astroturf organizations frame d their messages differently than politicians, it is not likely that politicians would have share d the same motivations as the astroturf organizations. Likewise, voters would have believe d that they were electing like minded candidates, but they may not have truly underst oo d or even agree d with their rep representative ha d chosen a particular position. Thus any resulting regulatory policy would have been more actual needs a nd to do so with full constituent endorsement. This study provides some new information about the discord between message frames used by astroturf organizations and those used by other communicators that are active in the telecommunications deregulation d ebate. It also raises some questions about the motives behind astroturf message framing, the effectiveness of astroturf communication strategies, and the evolution of astroturf communication. Therefore, future research should ask: What are the motives b ehind FreedomWorks framing strategy? H ow does astroturf message framing and voting behaviors ? And how has astroturf message framing changed since 2007? Th ese question s certainly merit further study to determine th e extent to which astroturf message frames shape the inferences that publics make about key political issues, the extent to which they agree or disagree with astroturf message s whether that agreement is based on systematic or heuristic message processing, and whether level
74 of agreement correlate s with voting behavior. In order to answer this new set of questions, future research should incorporate a comprehensive survey of voters who have completed varying levels of education, who come from a variety of s ocioeconomic backgrounds, and different geographic locations around the United States as well as leaders and active members in astroturf organizations like FreedomWorks and within the Tea Party movement Furthermore, it would be important to develop an in clusive list of astroturf organizations active at the time of analysis and to differentiate between voters who have and have not been exposed to messages disseminated by the astroturf organizations. Such a study would increase our understanding of how ast roturf mobilization affects attitudes and behaviors. Furthermore, a comparison of the endurance of astroturf messages and the extent to which they utilize heuristics could allow researchers to more firm conclusions about the effectiveness of astroturf com munication tactics in 2007, now, and in the future Perhaps, future research can lead us to determine the point at which astroturf organizations like the ones studied here became major political influencers instead of marginal political voices. Limitati ons Regardless, though, of the potential contributions to the body of knowledge of message construction and the political implications of the evolution of astroturf communication, this study has several limitations. Most glaring is the inability of this s tudy to test for correlations between the presence of message frames in the news and Congressional samples and the presence of message frames in the original astroturf organizational literature. Instead for the purposes of the present study, the research er read the position statements and press releases published by FreedomWorks, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, and Frontiers of Freedom to determine how these
75 organizations frame d messages related to the telecommunications deregulation debate. But a f ull content analysis of the presence of message frames in the astroturf organizational literature was not conducted because the astroturf organizations examined here removed many of their communication products from their Web sites after the conclusion of the 2006 Review of the Media Ownership Rules and around the same time that the government tightened lobbying restrictions with the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Acts of 2006 and 2007. This removal of literature occurred before the research c ould conduct a valid analysis of the frames used by the astroturf organizations. Also missing was a full analysis of the valence of articles in the research sample. According to the code book, valence was only coded if one or both of the generic message f rames was present. In cases where neither generic frame was present, no valence was coded. As a result, the researcher cannot determine whether the valence of an article has any relationship with its employment of the message frames studied here. Anothe generic message frames. Other generic frames identified by the framing literature include conflict, human interest, human impact, morality, and powerlessness ( de Vreese, 2005 ; Neuman, et al., 1992 ; Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000 ) Since the researcher did not analyze the presence or absence of all recognized frames, it was not possible to accurately conclude whether or not documents in the news population and in the Congressional sample used the same message frames or discussed the issue of telecommunications deregulation in the same way. Instead, this research merely
76 indicates a correlation between the two samples regarding the presence of the two message frames studied. To correct for these limitations, future research should incorpora te an analysis of all message frames, should address multiple issues including but not limited to, telecommunications deregulation, and should be longitudinal in nature. Future research should also include more comprehensive qualitative analysis of the m otives of astroturf communicators and their effects on target publics to better identify audience and communicator frames the framework that exists outside of the message text. Despite these methodological limitations this study has answered the research questions posed above and highlighted the idea that astroturf communication techniques are important and relevant to the body of knowledge about message construction, dissemination, and reception Moreover, this study has highlighted some potential flaws in the common practice of two way asymmetrical communication within the political arena Based on that conclusion, practitioners ought to be cautious when choosing to employ astroturf style communication campaigns. Although this type of message framing is both persuasive and easy for target audiences to process the messages may not be strong enough to elicit enduring attitudinal and behavioral change without also employing a Tea Party style participatory approach
77 APPENDIX A CODE SHEET Article ID: ____________________ Article date: ___________________ Coder initials: __________________ Coding date: ___________________ Data : 1 Was the economic generic frame present in this article? Yes 1 No 2 o 1A If yes, was the argument in favor of deregulation, against deregulation, or neutral? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Neutral 4 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 o 1B issue frame present? Yes 1 No 2 o 1Bv Was the fra me in favor of deregulation or against deregulation? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 o 1C issue frame present? Yes 1 No 2 o 1Cv Was the frame in favor of deregulation o r against deregulation? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 o 1D issue frame present? Yes 1 No 2 o 1Dv Was the frame in favor of deregulation or again st deregulation? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 2 Was the attribution of responsibility generic frame present in this article? Yes 1 No 2 o 2A If yes, was the argument in favor of deregulati on, against deregulation, or neutral? Negative/Against deregulation 3
78 Neutral 4 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 o 2B attributing responsibility to regulators for necessitating that telecommunications companies transfer regulatory costs to issue frame present? Yes 1 No 2 o 2Bv If yes, was the argument in favor of deregulation or against deregulation? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 o 2C attributing responsibility to governmen t regulation for issue frame present? Yes 1 No 2 o 2Cv If yes, was the argument in favor of deregulation or against deregulation? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 o 2D attrib uting responsibility to government regulation for issue frame present? Yes 1 No 2 o 2Dv If yes, was the argument in favor of deregulation or against deregulation? Negative/Against deregulation 3 Positive/In favor of deregulation 5 3 Policy Documents Only: Select a document type from the list below: Congressional legislation 6 Congressional committee meeting/hearing 7 FCC policy 8 FCC committee meeting/hearing 9 Public comm ent (not part of a hearing) 10 Other (if other, make a note) 11 4 Policy Documents Only: Is this document written or dictated by a government official or on behalf of a government agency? Yes 12 No 13 Both 14
79 APPENDIX B CODE BOOK Article ID: Each news article and policy document will be given a unique article number, which will be found at the top of the first page if your article is printed or in the file name if your article is electronic. Please note that news article numbers are completely nu meric and policy document numbers will end with the letter C. Also, in the event that there are multiple, distinct authors of multiple distinct statements within one document, each statement will be coded separately. wil l follow the Article ID number. Article date: If you are coding a news article, please indicate the date that the news article was published. If you are coding a policy document, please indicate the date the document was released to the public, made eff ective, or signed into law. Coder initials: Please use your first, middle, and last initial for coder identification, should that be necessary. Coding date: Please indicate the date that you coded the article. Coding Frames: The main purpose of this study is to analyze the presence of two generic message frames within the text that you are coding the economic frame and the attribution of responsibility frame. As you read each article, please be cognizant of the presence of each generic frame so that you may code accordingly. Please see definitions of these frames and step by step instructions for coding the presence of each frame below. The Economic Generic Frame An article that is economically framed addresses a given issue, idea, or person in term s of his/her/its economic consequences, either for the intended message recipient, or for society as a whole ( Neuman, et al., 1992 ; Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000 ; Valkenburg, et al., 1999 ) Themes that may be present or ( Neuman, et al., 1992 ) The Attribution of Responsibility Generic Frame An article that is framed by the attribution of responsibility will distinguish the issue at hand as a problem and will em] to either the government or ( Neuman, et al., 1992 ) While a theme of conflict may be present, conflicting opinions over who to blame should not be present within the same article the presence of conflicting opinions would indicate the prese nce a different generic frame for which we are not presently coding ( Valkenburg, et al., 1999 ) Valence If either generic frame is detected, you mus t also code for the valence of that frame whether the article takes a positive, negative, or neutral tone overall. A positive article takes a position in favor of telecommunications deregulation. A negative article takes a position against telecommunicat ions deregulation. A neutral article represents both positions or does not take either position.
80 Issue Frames The issue frames have been grouped under each generic frame. Please see the instructions below regarding coding of issue frames and related it ems. 1 Was the economic generic frame present in this article? After reading the entire article, please indicate the overall presence of the economic frame by selecting 1 or the absence of the economic frame by selecting 2. o 1A Valence If you selected 1 (frame is present), please indicate whether the overall tone of the article was negative/against deregulation (3), neutral (4), or positive/in favor of deregulation (5), and proceed to question 1B. If you selected 2 (frame is absent), then enter a zero in cells 1A 1D and proceed to question 2. o 1B issue frame present? Select 1 if the frame is present. Select 2 if the frame is absent. o 1Bv Valence Select 5 if they article is written from the perspective that deregulatio n is a benefit to taxpayers. Select 3 if the article is written from the perspective that deregulation is not a benefit to taxpayers. o 1C issue frame present? Select 1 if the frame is present. Select 2 if the fram e is absent. o 1Cv Valence Select 5 if the article is written from the perspective that telecommunications deregulation is not a threat to free market enterprise, new entrants to the telecommunications market, or free competition among telecommunications pro viders. Select 3 if the article is written from the perspective that telecommunications deregulation is a threat to free market enterprise, new entrants to the telecommunications market, or free competition among telecommunications providers. o 1D issue frame present? Select 1 if the frame is present. Select 2 if the frame is absent. o 1Dv Valence Select 5 if the article is written from the perspective that regulation has wasted either government or tax payer financial resources. Please note that the term money is equivalent to the term financial resources for the purposes of this question. Select 3 if the article is written from the perspective that regulation has not wasted either government or taxpaye r financial resources.
81 Please note that the term money is equivalent to the term financial resources for the purposes of this question. 2 Was the attribution of responsibility generic frame present in this article? After reading the entire article, pleas e indicate the overall presence of the attribution of responsibility frame by selecting 1 or the absence of the attribution of responsibility frame by selecting 2. o 2A Valence If you selected 1 (frame is present), please indicate whether the overall tone of the article was negative/against deregulation (3), neutral (4), or positive/in favor of deregulation (5) and proceed to question 2B. If you selected 2 (frame is absent), then you have now completed coding this article. If you are coding a policy document then please proceed to question 3. If you are coding a news article, then you have completed the code sheet for this article. o 2B attributing responsibility to regulators for necessitating that telecommunications companies transfer regulatory co issue frame present? Select 1 if the frame is present. Select 2 if the frame is absent. o 2Bv Valence Select 5 if the article is written from the perspective that regulators are responsible for the transference of regulatory costs from tele communications providers to consumers. Select 3 if the article is written from the perspective that regulators are not responsible for the transference of regulatory costs from telecommunications providers to consumers. o 2C attributing responsibili ty to government regulation for issue frame present? Select 1 if the frame is present. Select 2 if the frame is absent o 2Cv Valence Select 5 if the article is written from the perspective that government regulators are respon sible for the impediment of technological growth. Select 3 if the article is written from the perspective that government regulators are not responsible for the impediment of technological growth. o 2D attributing responsibility to government regula tion for issue frame present? Select 1 if the frame is present. Select 2 if the frame is absent. o 2Dv Valence
82 Select 5 if the article is written from the perspective that government reg ulation does inhibit or limit consumer choice among telecommunications services. Select 3 if the article is written from the perspective that government regulation does not inhibit or limit consumer choice among telecommunications services. If you are codi ng a news article, then you are done; if you are coding a policy document, then please proceed to question 3. 3 Policy documents (document numbers ending in C) can originate from several different settings. If you are coding a policy document, then please indicate its origin: Select 6 if the document is a congressional bill or amendment that has been signed into law Select 7 if the document is a record of a congressional committee meeting or hearing AND is not signed into law Select 8 if the document is FCC policy Select 9 if the document is a record of an FCC committee meeting or hearing Select 10 if the document is a public comment submitted to the FCC, but is not part of an FCC hearing Select 11 for all other document types and indicate a potential category under which this document might fall in the notes column. 4 Policy documents (document numbers ending in C) may have multiple authors contributing individual statements within the same document. Since different authors may utilize frames differen separately under a unique document number. Statements will be distinguished by to the end of the article ID number. Please identify whether the author of each statement is a government o fficial or acting on behalf of a government agency: Select 12 if the statement is written or dictated by a government official or on behalf of a government agency. Select 13 if the statement is attributed to any non governmental source. Select 14 if the s tatement is attributed to an author who is writing or speaking on behalf of both government and non governmental entities. Use the Notes column if you feel it necessary to convey any additional information.
83 APPENDIX C FREEDOMWORKS ACTION ALERT
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89 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lisa Yablonsky earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Comparative Literature and Spanish at the Pennsylvania State University (2003) in University Park, Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts in Mass Comm unication at the University of Florida (2011) in Gainesville, FL She began her career in the Media Relations Office of the World Council of Churches, a Swiss based NGO. In the fall of 2005, Lisa joined the graduate program in the College of Journalism a nd Communications at the University of Florida. While there, she worked as a college admissions counselor and served as a graduate assistant and undergraduate advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Journalism and Communications Her research interests include message construction, framing, and political communication.