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Media Narcissism and Self-Reflexive Reporting: Metacommunication in Televised News Broadcasts and Web Coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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Media Narcissism and Self-Reflexive Reporting: Metacommunication in Televised News Broadcasts and Web Coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom
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WILLIAMS, ANDREW PAUL ( Author, Primary )
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2008

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Broadcasting industry ( jstor )
Freedom of the press ( jstor )
Journalism ( jstor )
News content ( jstor )
News media ( jstor )
Political campaigns ( jstor )
Political candidates ( jstor )
Public information ( jstor )
Reporting ( jstor )
War ( jstor )

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University of Florida
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Copyright Andrew Paul Williams. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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Full Text












MEDIA NARCISSISM AND SELF-REFLEXIVE REPORTING:
METACOMMUNICATION IN TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS
AND WEB COVERAGE OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM















By

ANDREW PAUL WILLIAMS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004

































Copyright 2004

by

Andrew Paul Williams




























This dissertation is dedicated to my parents. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my mother,
Lois Virginia Strickland Williams, who has been extremely supportive and actively
involved in helping me pursue my graduate education. Equally important is the vital role
my father, the late Reverend Grady H. Williams, Sr. had in encouraging me to continue
my formal education. I am thankful to these role models and friends for instilling in me a
quest for knowledge, a desire for civic engagement, and sense of humor. They both
encouraged me to view my life as a journey to be enjoyed, instead of just focusing on
specific destinations and accomplishments. I am thankful for their generosity, their
kindness, and their leadership, and perhaps most importantly, their helping me gain a
feeling of resilience by developing in me an appreciation for the absurd, which has
proved quite essential, especially at times when things in life have seemed dire. For all of
this, and much more, I am grateful.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am very fortunate to have benefited from the mentorship of Dr. Lynda Lee Kaid.

From my first contact with her, Dr. Kaid treated me with respect and encouraged a

collaborative research relationship which over the past three years has developed into a

close personal friendship as well. Dr. Kaid has helped me to develop a programmatic

approach to my research, while at the same time encouraged me to explore new ideas that

will serve to advance my own personal development and to contribute to the mass

communication discipline. As an eminent scholar who has been at the helm of political

communication scholarship for a little over three decades, this research luminary has

never ceased to amaze me with her kindness, her respect for differing points of view, and

her quest for advancing knowledge. Words cannot express the gratitude and admiration I

have for this great scholar and teacher. Dr. Kaid leads by example and is so inclusive and

generous to a point that is almost beyond belief.

It is also with much appreciation that I thank Dr. Spiro K. Kiousis. I had the

privilege of taking Dr. Kiousis' graduate mass communications theory class and also

developing an ongoing research and professional friendship with him. He is a top-rate

scholar and rising star in the discipline of political communication whose collegiality and

willingness to offer guidance is always above and beyond the call of duty.

Also noteworthy is the interest that Dr. Justin Brown took in me as I constantly ran

research ideas and questions about scholarship by him. Dr. Brown helped to encourage,









guide, and inform my research as I sought ways to address my many issues and concerns

about the mass media.

Another stalwart supporter who never tired of my almost endless questions and

need for guidance is Dr. David M. Hedge. Dr. Hedge met with me frequently to address

how I could merge my research in mass and political communication with the developing

scholarship in the field of political science and to stay focused in my efforts. His patience

and own intellectual curiosity have helped to send me in new directions with my research

projects.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the friendship, guidance, and support

that Dr. Bernell E. Tripp has offered me over the last three and one-half years. At a time

when I was very uncertain about my abilities, Dr. Tripp counseled, directed, and

protected me. Without her help as a teacher and confidant, I would not have been able to

have endured my first semester in this graduate program. Dr. Tripp was also selfless in

her expectations of me and most supportive of my choice to focus on quantitative

research in the area of political communication instead of historical media research which

is her expertise.

Last, but not least, Jody Hedge was the very first person I spoke with when I was

considering applying to this graduate program, and since that first conversation, she is

still the first person I turn to for help on matters of not only proper policies and

procedures, but also for personal and professional guidance. Jody has been the stabilizing

force in the graduate division of the College of Journalism and Communications on

whom I and countless other students rely when we feel there is nowhere else to turn. And

she never fails any of us, which is quite a feat, as there is almost always a rather long line









of students in need of her help. Jody has become a dependable friend to me, and I could

never have made it through this experience without her.

These are the primary people who have helped me through the hazing ritual of the

doctoral program, but there are many others who helped along the way. For all of you

who helped me on this arduous journey, you know who you are, and how much I am

grateful for contributing to an experience that was both the best and worst of times.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES .......................... .... .............. ....... ....... ix

A B ST R A C T ................. .......................................................................................... x

CHAPTER

1 IN TRODU CTION ................................................. ...... .................

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................ ......................... 3

Role of the Journalist ............... ..................................................3
G atek keeping T h eory ........... ..... ........................................ .................. .......... .. .. ....
W ar Coverage ..................................... ................................ ......... 10
The W eb as a N ew s Source ............................................... ............................. 14
F ra m in g ................................................................................................................. 1 6
M etacom m u nication ...................................................................................... 19
Hypotheses and Research Questions ........................................ ....................... 28

3 METHODS ................... ....................................31

S a m p le ............................................................................. 3 1
C categories and D definition s .............................................................. .....................33
P public Inform ation E efforts ........................................... .. .......................................38
C o d in g P ro c e ss ..................................................................................................... 3 9

4 R E S U L T S .............................................................................4 1

A analysis of N ew s Stories...................................................... .......................... 4 1
Televised News Broadcast Source Reliance.................................... ...............41
W eb Coverage Source R eliance ........................................ ........................... 42
Episodic and Them atic Fram e Prevalence.............................. ............................42
Fram e Prevalence........................................................... .... ...... .43
M etacom m unication Fram e Prevalence .....................................................................45
Frame Prevalence over Time .....................................................................45
Metacommunication Frame Prevalence over Time ................................................47
Types of M etacom m unication Fram es ...................................................................47









Self-Reflexive M etacommunication Frames ................................... .................49
Strategy/Process M etacommunication Frames................................ ............... 50
Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories .......................................51
Episodic and Thematic Frame Media Comparisons .............................................52
Bush Administration Public Information Assessments...........................................54
Iraq Government Public Information Assessments............................................ 56

5 D ISC U S SIO N ............................................................................... 57

Findings and Im plications................................................. .............................. 57
Source Reliance ................................. ........................... .... ....... 57
Episodic and Them atic Fram es ........................................ ....................... 59
Fram e Prevalence .......................... ............ ............... .... ..... .. 61
M etacom m unication F ram es ........................................................... .....................63
Self-Reflexive M etacommunication Frames ................................... .................64
Strategy/Process M etacommunication Frames................................ ............... 66
Strategy/Process Metacommunication Categories ............................................. 68
Public Inform action Assessm ent ............................................................................ 70
L im itatio n s ................................ ................................... ................ 7 0
F utu re R research ...................................... ........................ ................ 7 1

APPENDIX

A CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS
BROADCASTS ........................... .. ... .... ................... 73

B CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE...................79

C CODESHEET OF CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS
BROADCASTS ........................... .. ... .... .................. 85

D CODESHEET FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE .....................88

LIST OF REFEREN CES ............................................................................. 91

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................. ............... 105
















LIST OF TABLES


Table pge

4-1 Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time .............................44

4-2 Frame Prevalence in Stories by Media Channel ............................................... 45

4-3 Self-Reflexive and Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames by Media.........47

4-4 Frames Relied on in Stories Covering Operation Iraqi Freedom across Three
Periods of Time and by M edia Channel........ ......... ............ ..................... 48

4-5 Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Types by Media Channel ............................49

4-6 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Types by Media Channel..........................51

4-7 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories by Media......................53

4-8 Bush Administration Public Information Efforts...............................................54

4-9 Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time and by Media
C h a n n e l ................................. ........... .... ..................... ................ 5 5

4-10 Iraqi Government Public Information Efforts ....................................... ....... 56















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

MEDIA NARCISSISM AND SELF-REFLEXIVE REPORTING:
METACOMMUNICATION IN TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS
AND WEB COVERAGE OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM

By

Andrew Paul Williams

August 2004

Chair: Lynda Lee Kaid
Major Department: Journalism and Communications

This study examined the prevalence of metacommunication in televised news

broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior scholarship on

metacommunication, media narcissism, and self-reflexive reporting has primarily been

conducted in analyzing the news coverage of political campaigns, through the content

analysis of televised and print media. This study was a quantitative content analysis that

explicated the metacommunication concept by applying it to a military conflict and

comparing two electronic media channels.

Building on the prior established metacommunication frames that examined the

extent and type of self-reflexive media coverage and the media's evaluation of the

strategy/process of public information efforts, the current study's findings indicated that

metacommunication was a prevalent news frame in the coverage of the U.S. war with

Iraq in 2003. Of the two types of metacommunication frames that were examined in this









study, findings indicate that the self-reflexive frame was relied on more frequently than

the strategy/process frame.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

It is a given fact in today's highly mediated society that the public turns to the news

media-print, radio, TV, and Internet-for vital information, especially pertaining to

matters of national import, such as politics and homeland security. It is perhaps in no

other arena than the political one in a democratic society, where according to classic

democratic theories (Berelson, 1966), citizens rely on accuracy of information in order to

govern themselves. The mass media play a vital role in keeping the public up-to-date on

the facts about political figures, issues, and events.

However, a review of literature from the discipline of political communication over

the last four decades indicates that a number of scholars have identified five areas of

concern regarding troubling problems with the media's providing sufficient objective

information to the public: an emphasis on sensationalism and focus on clash; the

shrinking soundbite; an emphasis on image over issues; an emphasis on horserace

coverage in campaigns; and a focus on the negative.

This dissertation seeks to focus on a fifth emerging area of concern: media

narcissism and metacommunication. This dissertation largely builds on the research of

Esser and D'Angelo (2003, 2002) who view metacommunication to be a byproduct of an

adversarial relationship between professional political public relations strategists and the

media. Esser and D'Angelo's work has been greatly influenced by that of Kerbel (1995,

1997, 1998, & 2000) and Kerbel, Apee, and Ross (2000) who have identified the self-

reflexive nature of media coverage, in which journalist have become apt to insert









themselves into the stories on which they are reporting as problematic trend. The

metacommunication concept has previously been limited to political campaigns.

The purpose of this exploratory study is to advance the research on the electronic

media's coverage of war, the framing thereof, and to examine the role

metacommunication played in this reporting. Prior research has applied the theory of

metacommunication almost exclusively to political campaign coverage, and this

dissertation will explicate the metacommunication concept by applying it to a military

operation. Additionally, this dissertation adds to the prior research on

metacommunication in electronic news coverage, which has previously been limited to

television news by adding Web coverage of the war to the analysis.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

This dissertation seeks to examine how the media covered the 2003 U.S. war with

Iraq. A number of prior studies that explored assumptions and theoretical underpinnings

of what the role of the media in a democratic society should be were drawn upon in this

analysis of media coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the goal of advancing

knowledge of how the media function during a time of crisis.

Role of the Journalist

The notion that the media have become increasingly self-reflexive or narcissistic in

their coverage of politics, major public events, and even war has received serious

attention and debate over the last few decades about just what the role of the journalist is

in society as compared to what this role should be. Theoretically, such concerns of media

self-reflexivity or metacommunication have been grounded in perspectives such as

framing or second-level (attribute) agenda setting. This research attempts to examine

expectations of established journalistic norms and practices and attempts to address key

concerns based on these given expectations.

A foundation for this exploration of media responsibility is the notion of classic

democratic theories (Berelson, 1966). This perspective asserts that it is essential in a

democratic society that citizens have access to information in order to make informed

decisions that enable self-governance.

Historically, in late 18th-century England, Edmund Burke is credited with labeling

the media as the Fourth Estate. This concept was based on the idea that the press should









have equal political power in relation to the other three estates of the British Empire: the

Lords, the Church, and the Commons. Freedom of the media was a cornerstone of this

concept, and these freedoms not only enabled the media to report, comment on, and

critique the government, it also was considered a responsibility of the press to do so.

Similarly, a concept called Social Responsibility Theory emerged in the United

States in the 20th Century. This normative theory asserts that the media serve to inform,

entertain, sell, and most importantly, raise conflict to the plane of public awareness. This

concept was developed from the writings of W.E. Hocking, The Commission on the Free

Press, and journalists' practitioner codes. This theory asserts that everyone should have

access to the media and that the media should respect privacy and not infringe on the

rights of individuals. The concept is grounded in freedom of the press from governmental

control, unless the government felt that there was a compelling need that justified its

intervention. The Social Responsibility perspective differs from Siebert, Peterson, and

Schramm's other three theories of the press-Authoritarian, Libertarian, and Soviet-

Totalitarian-in that it argues that the media must fulfill its obligation of providing

information to the public, and if it does not do so, someone should ensure that it does.

This notion of an obligation of journalistic social responsibility is largely based on the

fact that the media are the only industry that was guaranteed protection and freedom in

the Bill of Rights (Siebert, Peterson, & Schramm, 1963).

Based on these historical underpinnings, the role of the journalist has been shaped

and discussed by numerous scholars and practitioners. For example, it is argued that

freedom of the press is essential in a democratic society (Baker, 2002). Additionally, with

this freedom comes the journalistic responsibility to provide credible information to the









public (Lule, 2001). It is noteworthy that two major media organizations-the Society of

Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio-Television News Directors Association

(RTNDA)-have developed codes of ethics and professional practice that overlap in

three specific areas of responsibility: (1) truth; (2) independence; and (3) accountability.

Gatekeeping Theory

In terms of applying theory to actual practice-to these journalist ideals and

norms-gatekeeping theory has guided research that has helped to inform these concerns

about the media fulfilling their public role. In both the seminal gatekeeping study (White,

1950) and in its subsequent replication (Schneider, 1967) researchers went into the

newsroom to observe how editors actually fulfilled their gatekeeping roles. These initial

studies defined gatekeeping as the way in which the editors, or gatekeepers, selected and

shaped what messages, out of the myriad content available, actually garnered media

coverage. These field reports indicate that gatekeeping decisions were primarily based on

newsworthiness, organizational norms, and space constraints, and the gatekeepers had the

power not only to select, but also to shape and present information. Newsworthiness and

space constraints (also referred to as the limited news hole) are the two primary

considerations that emerged from these studies of how newsroom decisions were made,

in terms of how the media gatekeepers responsibly serve their public duties (Shoemaker

& Reese, 1996).

Dimmick (1974) views gatekeeping as a complex process that can be highly

subjective, as the initial studies indicated. However, he views the standardized norms of

media coverage and ethical concerns to be components of the gatekeeping process.

Shoemaker and Reese (1996) assert that there are three essential aspects to

gatekeeping that can help to reduce chance of irresponsible journalism and bias. These









three governing aspects are news value, objectivity, and organizational structure. It is

perhaps the notion of objectivity, in terms of evaluating true news value, that is at the

center of this dissertation's evaluation of self-reflexivity, narcissism, and

metacommunication in news coverage.

In contrast to Shoemaker and Reese's views of responsible gatekeeping practices,

there are growing concerns about the lack of, or relinquishment of, gatekeeping. It is

argued that the trends of infotainment, tabloidization, and sensationalism in the news

media are evidence of a fundamental disregard, or breakdown of, gatekeeping in the press

(e.g., Shaw, 1994; Kiousis, 2002a; Williams & Delli Carpini, 2004).

Research on media bias seems particularly relevant to this exploration of the

growing concerns about metacommunication and the role of the journalist. While prior

research on the press has long-established categories of bias, such as partisan, structural,

and situational, there appear to be new forms of bias emerging. Scholars and media critics

as well have noted that there tends to be a negative news bias (Kurtz, 1995; Lichter,

Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). Also, Williams (2002), for example, has argued that a "synergy

bias" has emerged due to the significant amount of media consolidations, mergers, and

strategic alliances in recent years. Williams posits that media coverage is now biased in

favor of those organizations that the given media outlet is associated with. Similarly,

Williams and Kiousis (2004) have explored the concept of corporate bias and have found

evidence that suggests that media ownership and cross-promotion do, in fact, have a

direct relationship with what does, and does not, get covered, by the media. The current

dissertation seeks to investigate whether one of the most potent forms of media bias in

not partisan, structural, or situational, but it is perhaps the media's bias towards itself.









Based on the previously mentioned foundations that have shaped the role of the

journalist, the free press, gatekeeping, and media bias, a major concern that is at the

center of this dissertation is that of the media fulfilling the public's trust. For purposes of

this dissertation, trust is defined as a three-part relationship: "A expects B to do X"

(Hardin, 2001). Based on the freedom and responsibility that the media have, it would be

a fair assessment to say that A, the public, expects B, the media, to do X, what it is

obligated to do in a democratic society: provide timely, accurate, newsworthy, unbiased,

and objective information. Work by media critics and scholars indicates that the media

have violated such a reciprocal form of trust and are not fulfilling their role as objective,

impartial observers who report to, and serve, the public.

This possible violation of the social obligation of the media is evidenced in several

ways. For example, scholars have noted that the actual amount of critical information

needed by the public to make informed decisions, such as during the time of a political

campaign, has dramatically decreased (e.g. Kiousis, 2002a). The media has been

criticized for lack of substantive political coverage: The shrinking sound bite and shifting

coverage emphasize the horserace aspects of a campaign-focusing on moments of clash

and spectacle-and even violates viewers' expectations by ambushing and arguing with

candidates or elected officials (Graber 1976; Kaid & Cryer, 1990; Morello, 1998).

These problems, while noteworthy in their own right, are directly related to the

concerns in this research, specifically because an issue of concern about such troubling

journalistic practice is what type of coverage is offered as a result of these practices?

Essentially, the byproducts of journalism run amuck are areas of growing concern. Often

one byproduct that replaces substantive issue information by the media is instead









coverage in which the journalists present themselves as participants of the process or

information they are covering. For example, in a recent campaign cycle, it is reported that

journalists were evaluating the election as "boring" and discussing why they felt it was so

(Jamieson, 1998). Instead of providing the public with actual policy information,

candidate issue stances, or other substantive facts, the journalists were instead acting as

commentators and filling the news hole with their own inane chatter.

Nimmo and Combs (1992) have similarly expressed concern about the excessive

reliance of the media on the political pundits to fill valuable air time. Some mainstream

publications (e.g., The New Yorker and Vanity Fair) have commented on this practice of

filling news shows with these so-called "talking heads" and passing off their volatile,

argumentative dialogue as informative television. Washington Post media critic Howard

Kurtz has also chimed in on this troubling practice and asserts that it has contributed to

what he has labeled a "media circus." The American Journalism Review and Columbia

Journalism Review have also addressed the issues that arise when the media rely on the

media as information sources as areas of concern. Those who are being interviewed and

portrayed as so-called "experts" who provide "insider" reports often turn out to be either

members of the media, partisan pundits, or quasi-scholars who are often pushing their

latest book.

What is particularly problematic about this practice of the media covering

themselves instead of focusing on their traditional, established role is that the discourse is

generally that of running subjective commentary and pontification, instead of objective

reporting of information that could be provided if the media would offer it from readily

available sources other than the media participants themselves. One might ask why the









media are interviewing themselves instead of expert sources or actual participants in the

events or issues they are covering. It appears that the answer is that the media tend to

readily give up their vital function of serving as a watchdog for the public, because they

are largely too busy watching themselves-enamored by the spectacle of the unfolding

news process and their own involvement in it.

Additionally, the media seem to have become wrapped up in what is now being

labeled as spin, by the media players themselves as well as media critics. CNN even airs

a "news show" that deals exclusively with spin: Spin Cycle. Isn't it a fair assumption,

based on the underlying and clearly established principles of the press, that the

professional journalists should rise above the so-called spin? Based on these established

journalistic norms, it would seem that it is the media's job to sift through the public

relations/public information materials they are provided, synthesize this, and provide

objective information to the public. Instead, it appears that the media practitioners are so

wrapped up in the process that they literally spin the spin and take up valuable time and

space away from the business of providing actual news and factual data in the process of

doing so. Could not this synthesis of public relations information or so-called "spin" be

done behind the scenes, and does not this airing of the news process appear to violate the

trust and considerable responsibility that has been bestowed upon the media?

In a Canadian documentary, titled Truth Merchants, a picture is painted for the

audience of the media players and the public relations professionals playing an ongoing,

daily game of cat and mouse to see who can get the best of the other party. The contest

for each to best the other is played out on a daily basis, and it appears that it is the public

that pays the price for this game (McMahon, 1998).









War Coverage

From newsreels to radio to television to the Web, electronic news has been able to

provide coverage to the public during these most dire of circumstances, and it is

especially in a time of war when such coverage literally means life or death. Audiences

tune in, watch, or log on, in order to get up-to-date information.

Just as the media channels and the wars reported on have changed over time, so of

course, has the content:

Before the first civilian war correspondents in the middle of the nineteenth century,
generals reported their own wars. Today, in the war on terrorism if we want a
version of what is happening, we turn on CNN or BBC television and there is an
American general at the Pentagon, or the British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon at
the Ministry of Defense, telling us what they have decided we should know about
the war. Unfortunately this flood of material, coupled with the insatiable appetite of
the 24-hour rolling TV news and the demand of the foreign desks for scoops, made
the temptation to invent stories difficult to resist. (Knightley, 2002, p. 170)

Additionally, the reasons for the use of sensationalized content and graphic visuals

can be attributed more to ratings than to helping the public interpret the complexities of

warfare: "Historical evidence shows that wars are generally good news for television

networks; the global success of CNN in the wake of the Gulf War is a prominent case in

point. Televising live conflict can be particularly profitable if it concerns a patriotic war"

(Thussu, 2002, p. 210).

While a period of war might be a time of higher ratings and profits for televised

news, it is also a period in which these broadcasts face greater criticism: "In a society at

war, the media are even more carefully scrutinized-both by leaders and by scholars-

from the point of view of content and control. Assumptions are made about the functions

of the media in the maintenance of civilian morale, the bolstering of convictions about









justice of the cause, the countering of rumors, the strengthening of solidarity, and so on"

(Peled & Katz, 1974, p. 50).

One reason for this adversarial relationship between the press and the military is the

issue of access to accurate information, or the lack thereof:

Managing news and information about U.S. military interventions became more
sophisticated in the 1990s with the full implantation of the pool system at the time
of the 1991 Gulf War, when a select band of journalist were permitted access only
to predetermined combat locations during Operation Desert Storm. This strategy,
devised by the Pentagon, helped the U.S. to monitor and censor information about
the war before it was broadcast. The military's definition of "sensitive: information
also included anything that might undermine public support for military action.
(Thussu, 2002, p. 204)

Prior research has focused on objectivity and reporting techniques during war and

how to balance journalistic practices with public needs (Fishman, 1980; Gans, 1979;

Gitlin, 1980; Tuchman, 1978). For example, Hallin (1986) conducted a study on the news

practices of journalists in the Vietnam War and argued that there was an emphasis in

news coverage on specific events, and newsworthiness was dictated by official sources

and the importance of reporting on the war itself, instead of interpreting it. Conversely,

Arno (1984) critiqued the media's coverage of the Vietnam War and asserted that

personal interpretation and framing information was in fact what the reporters did engage

in, instead of merely functioning as objective communication professionals.

The Vietnam War was a turning point in the media's coverage of military conflict

and was the first modem war in which television actually brought visual images of

combat into homes. Despite the impact these still images and footage had on the public,

they were not close-up, live reports like we see today.

Then the 1991 Gulf War took televised war coverage to a new level, one in which

viewers could actually watch missiles being launched, and the coverage of this war is









credited for "making" CNN: "Television's coverage of the Gulf War [1991], for the first

time in history, brought military conflict into living rooms across the globe, thanks to

networks like CNN. In the high-tech, bloodless, almost surreal visualizations of war,

cockpit videos of 'precision bombings'. ." (Thussu, 2002, p. 204). This view of war and

destruction was at a distance, and viewing it on television, it appeared "as a painless

Nintendo exercise" (Said, 1993, p. 3).

Kaid et al. (1994) content analyzed CNN's nightly reporting during the 45-day Gulf

War in 1991 from a dramatistic perspective, examining the dominant ways in which CNN

framed the war: "The primary conclusions of this analysis suggest that CNN presented an

American view which often focused on the media players and offered disproportionate

coverage to telecommunications and military technology" (p. 148). The authors argue

that the emphasis on the dramatic and the spectacle in this reporting created an alternate,

mediated reality for viewers. Though not expressly labeled as media narcissism or

metacommunication, the findings of Kaid et al. indicate a turning point in war coverage

in which the journalists inserted themselves into the story at an unprecedented level, thus

becoming participants in the military conflict that they themselves were reporting on.

Similarly, much scholarly research about the media's coverage of the 1991 Gulf

War indicates a general consensus that the reporting was biased in favor of an American

point of view. Additionally these studies conclude that a reason for this bias was that the

media were favorably influenced by the advanced technology used by the United States

against Iraq (Carrier & Swanson, 1991; Liebes, 1992; Zelizer, 1992; Zorn, 1991). Kaid et

al. (1993), however, compared how five international newspapers covered the war and









found that the international press was not as supportive and influenced by the high-tech

visuals and did not find uniformity in the prevalent themes of the war coverage.

The 2003 war with Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, was an even more unique

military conflict-one in which journalists were given unprecedented access to the

military, and for the first time visuals of combat were filmed close-up and electronically

broadcast in real-time for viewers across the globe. This coverage was not bloodless and

was sometimes shockingly violent and gritty, as compared to the images seen only a

decade earlier in the prior U.S. war with Iraq.

Embedded journalists actually traveled in tanks with soldiers, and ill-fated, star

celebrities such as Peter Arnett and Geraldo Rivera made spectacles of themselves as

they broadcast live from battle scenes, even pointing out actual troop movements and

critiquing the U.S. war effort as it was playing out behind them. In many ways, the

electronic media coverage of the 2003 war made it look like the ultimate reality TV

show. While the nature of showing such coverage is a controversial topic, Bennett argues

that "people cannot interpret what they don't see" (Bennett, 2001, p. 145). Whether the

embedded trend can is open for debate; the ubiquity of embedded journalism raised this

concept to national salience, and "embedded" was selected by yourdictionary.com as its

word of the year for 2003 (yourdictionary.com, 2003).

The current dissertation will add to the body of literature about electronic media

war coverage as it examines the content during a period of time when both journalists and

the public had unprecedented, almost-immediate access to information about and images

of actual military action.









The Web as a News Source

Not only was this an unprecedented war, in terms of journalistic access to military

action in general, it was also the first official U.S. Web war. The Web was still in its very

infantile stages when the first Gulf War occurred, but it has developed into a significant

news source since. Therefore, not only were reports being broadcast electronically

through the medium of television as they occurred, they were also being reported in real

time and in multimedia on the Web.

Overall, the use of the Web as a news information seeking tool has seen a

dramatic increase during the last decade. This was specifically noteworthy in the 2000

presidential election, when unlike the 1996 American general election cycle, politicians

turned to the Web to communicate directly with voters, and citizens turned to the Web to

seek the most up-to-date and accurate election results. In fact, the Pew Internet and

American Life Project and the Pew Center for People and the press are offering regular

reports now on the volume of online information gathering.These organizations have

offered reports over the past decade that cite a rise in using the Internet to fulfill the

public's political information and news gathering needs.

This increasing use of the Web for information seeking proved to be evident

during the 2003 U.S. war with Iraq. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet

and American Life Project (2003), the online news audience increased significantly from

the time before the war began. This study indicated that 77% of U.S. Internet users

reported seeking information on the Web about the war. The survey also indicates that

56% percent of American Web users accessed a Web site with the express purpose of

getting news or other information about the war in Iraq. This study also reports that 20%

of American Internet users relied on the Web in order to form opinions about the war.









In an initial study of international coverage of the first few hours following the

U.S. attack on Iraq, Dimitrova, Kaid, Williams, and Trammell (2003) found that most

news Web sites had immediately updated their homepages and were offering breaking

news of the onset of this new war.

Since the proliferation of the Internet as a major source of news, numerous studies

have examined how effectively news Web sites function. Such studies have examined

how national breaking news is covered (Dimitrova, Connolly-Ahern, Williams, Kaid, &

Reid, 2003). There are numerous studies on the effectiveness and use of online

newspapers, magazines, and television news Web sites. Such studies examine the work

of online reporters (Deuze, 1998), the use of the Web for information gathering

(Garrison, 2001), and the pragmatics of news Web sites organizational operations and

journalistic practice (Singer 2001, 2003).

Another advantage of accessing news on the Web is that control of information is

in the hands of the user. While the media gatekeepers control what is linked to in articles

on their Web sites, the user maintains control of which hyperlinks to use and what

information they want to be exposed to (Eveland & Dunwoody, 2001; Peng et al., 1999).

Kiousis (2002b) argues that users are drawn to Web sites, especially ones that offer

multimedia and interactive elements.

The current dissertation will add to the body of literature about electronic media

war coverage by examining how for the first time in history, a U.S. war literally unfolded

on the Web. Additionally, the immediacy of Web site news coverage of the war provides

a unique new medium to apply the metacommunication concept.









Framing

Framing theory posits that media not only set the agenda but also transfer the

salience of specific attributes to issues, events, or candidates. A media frame is the

"central organizing idea for news content that supplies context and suggests what the

issue is using selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration" (Tankard, 2001; Tankard

et al, 1991).

Framing theory suggests that the media place a frame of reference around its

audience's thought process. Tuchman (1978) considers the organization of everyday

reality to be the most important function of media frames.

According to Gitlin (1980), "media frames" organize the world both for journalists

who report it and, in some important degree, for consumers who rely on their reports.

Gamson and Modigliani (1997) suggest that journalists' framing of the news is due to

professional norms and the influence of special interest groups. Similarly, Edelman

(1997, 1993) views the act of framing as being clearly impacted by authorities and

groups.

In a study on the 1991 Gulf War, Kelman (1995) offers 10 dominant frames that

the U.S. administration used to shape public discourse: (1) no negotiations; (2) fear of

reward for aggression; (3) blinkmanship; (4) unbalanced cost-benefit analysis; (5) human

costs for the enemy; (6) self-glorification; (7) stigmatization of dissent; (8) rallying

around the flag; (9) overcoming the Vietnam Syndrome; and (10) a New World Order.

Shoemaker and Reese (1996) and Tuchman (1978) identified at least five key

factors that may potentially influence how journalists frame a given issue: (1) social

norms and values; (2) ownership and organizational pressures and constraints; (3)









Pressures of interest groups; (4) journalistic routines; and (5) ideological or political

orientations of journalists.

lyengar and Simon (1993) purport that network news frames can be classified as

being either episodic or thematic: Episodic frames focus on specific events and incidents,

and thematic frames emphasize abstract ideas and general, broad information.

Scheufele (1999) argues that the way the mass media frame an issue affects

audience perceptions and suggests the consideration of two dominant frames. First, at the

media level, journalists' framing of an issue might be influenced by several social-

structural or organizational variables. Second, at the audience level, frames as the

dependent variable are examined mostly as direct outcomes of the way mass media frame

an issue. Price, Tewksbury, and Powers (1997) have studied framing from an effects

perspective and argue that how the media frames the news influences audiences'

perceptions.

Pan and Kosicki (1991, 2001) view framing and the structuring of news as a

strategic practice and have identified four specific aspects of information that shape the

framing process: (1) syntactic structures-patterns in the arrangements of words, phrases;

(2) script structures-newsworthiness of an issue or event; (3) thematic structures-

journalists' reliance on linking news with preexisting information; and (4) rhetorical

structures-journalistic voice and style of packaging news.

In an analysis of framing European politics in print and broadcast news, Semetko

and Valkenburg (2000) identify five main frames that they believe broadly categorize the

media content: (1) conflict frame; (2) human interest frame; (3) economic consequences

frame; (4) morality frame; and (5) responsibility frame.









In a study that focused on the analysis of visual framing, Messaris and Abraham

(2001) investigated how African Americans were represented in television news. Based

on this analysis, the researchers found evidence of "subtle racism" largely due to the

selection of the types of photographic images of African Americans used, the settings of

these photographs, and the "racial cues" that were provides within news stories, "through

visual juxtapositions and associations [that] provide a picture of those who occupy

[urban] space" (p. 223).

Framing theory also suggests that the media have the power not only to select what

is covered, but also how items are covered. The implications of how items are covered

are that positive or negative framing could influence public opinion.

For example, De Vreese, Peter, and Semetko (2001) assert that while frames may

indeed be issue-specific or generic in nature, that framing often focuses on conflict and

consequences of "events, issues, and policies" (p. 109). De Vreese (2003) argues "that

frames have inherent valence by suggesting, for example, positive or negative aspects,

solutions, or treatments. Given this valence, news frames can be expected to influence

public support for various policy measures" (p. 4).

In 1993, McCombs and Shaw expanded their original definition of agenda setting

to include the concept of framing, stating that, "Both the selection of objects for attention

and the selection of frames for thinking about these objects are powerful agenda-setting

roles [that may] direct attention toward certain attributes and away from others"

(p.62). A number of scholars since then have attempted to extend the boundaries of

agenda setting theory to include the concept of framing as second-level/attribute agenda

setting (Ghanem, 1997; Golan, & Wanta, 2001; Kiousis, Bantimaroudis, & Ban 1999).









While framing or attaching attributes to issues may be viewed as a component of

the transfer of salience that is essential to the agenda-setting model, framing theory does

not need to be examined as such a subcomponent of agenda setting, and can be tested by

the use of content analysis, without comparing rank-ordered issues or attributes. The use

of framing as a theoretical underpinning provides the researcher with an excellent

approach to analyzing the manifest content of media coverage.

Simply put, Entman (1993) states that "to frame is to select some aspects of a

perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text. ." The current

dissertation will add to the existing literature on framing theory by building on what

Holloway (2001) points out are two key components of Entman's definition of framing:

selection and salience.

Metacommunication

Media narcissism, self-reflexive reporting, and metacommunication are three terms

that are being used to describe how the media have shifted their focus more and more to

their favorite subject: themselves. While the terms are different and moving towards a

theory of metacommunication is relatively new, the concept of media self-coverage and

the concerns of the impact of such reporting are decades old.

The study of metacommunication has mostly emphasized the role which the media

have begun to play in the political process. Instead of reporting the news of a political

campaign, the media have increasingly begun to appear more like a self-aware and

participatory institution, and this trend of mediated politics is an area of noted concern as

to its impact on the democratic process (Bennett, & Entman, 2001;Graber, 1997;

Mazzoleni, & Shulz, 1999; Swanson, & Mancini, 1996).









Instead of sitting on the sidelines and reporting the facts, "The news media no

longer simply report; they interpret. Journalists are quick to insert their own construction

of events and issues between candidates and voters" (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000, p.

363-364).

One major problem in the coverage of politics on network news is the decrease in

actual attention to the content of candidates' campaign messages. Studies now indicate

that the amount of airtime dedicated to presenting substantive information from

respective candidates is shrinking-literally. Overall, there is less coverage of political

events in general. From 1992 to 1996, the cut in political coverage is staggering. In the

past, conventions were covered from beginning to end. Now, they are only highlighted in

most news coverage. The media are just not covering the process of political races as

much as they once did. In fact, the average amount of time now allotted to air candidates'

"sound-bites" has shrunk to mere seconds-instead of minutes-in which it is utterly

impossible to ascertain the true essence of the civic dialogue the candidate is attempting

to have with the public (Hallin, 1992; Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000).

For example, Lichter et al. (2000, p. 4) found that "the average amount of airtime

given to candidate statements on the evening news shrank from 42 seconds in 1968 to a

mere 10 seconds in 1988 and an even lover 7 to 8 seconds in 1992." It can be argued that

this dumbing down or abbreviating of the candidates' messages is irresponsible and

ethically questionable since a brief quote might not-and usually cannot-be

representative of a candidate's true message. In fact, this type of compression potentially

misrepresents the real nature of candidates' communications.









Another troublesome aspect of political campaign coverage by the news media is

the emphasis on what is referred to as horserace journalism and the overall political

spectacle. Many scholars and media critics have noted the trend in both print and

broadcast media of coverage predominately focusing on the political campaign as a

contest, instead of a legitimate, substantive political process (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid,

2000). This image-driven type of coverage does little to inform and educate voters about

domestic or foreign issues or policy issues that might directly affect the voters, but

instead focuses on the candidates as if they were celebrities, sports figures, or game-show

participants who are in a type of race or contest instead of a political campaign to hold

public office and serve a constituency (Colford, 1998; Graber, 1976; Patterson, 1997).

These troubling practices take up valuable space in the limited news hole by focusing

airtime on the media's talking heads, instead of the political candidates and their issues.

This focus of the media was noted in a study of the 1996 presidential campaign that

indicates[] that questions posed by the audience members in call-in programs often

focused more on issues than those asked by journalists, who tended to focus on the

strategy of the candidates" (Johnson et al., 1999). The trend of the media not to just

objectively report a given news story, but instead to put themselves in the given news

content and to emphasize the negative, are areas of journalistic practice that is of growing

concern and has received a fair amount of criticism, both in the scholarly and the popular

press. This trend is particularly alarming in a democracy where the public relies on the

media to provide substantive information on political and policy issues. Researchers have

noted this practice and even measured the amount of time the media spend talking to and

about themselves, versus actual coverage during presidential campaigns, finding









significant decreases in the amounts of substantive coverage of issues (Lichter, Noyes, &

Kaid, 2000). Alarmingly, it has been found that the amount of coverage has drastically

decreased, while the amounts of media participants' discussions have increased.

Scholars in the field of political communication note that this trend is part of a

bigger pattern of campaign coverage that focuses on the spectacle of a political race, and

have even deemed this horseracee journalism" (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). This

image-driven reporting favors the short sound bite and is often followed by an instant

analysis from a media personality. Similarly, Lichter and Noyes (1995) argue that the

three main networks "function as intermediaries between the candidates and the public"

(p. 234).

Another problematic trend is the media's tendency to focus the emphasis of

campaign coverage on itself, as media commentators report and comment on

sensationalistic stories instead of ones that focus on policy. In addition to this

tabloidization of news, the media also direct more attention to argumentative discussions

between candidates-either from debates or the daily "spin." This attention on

argumentation is often driven by the need to boost ratings and may not accurately present

the true nature of the complexity of the opposing views candidates hold on varying issues

(Morello, 1998; Paletz, & Vinegar, 2001). Again, the attention is focused not just on the

sensational or the unusual, but it is also focused on the media's talking heads who are

often making subjective judgments, which shifts emphasis to the unique and the

commentators themselves.

In addition this type of focus could also be considered to be a media bias. From

early studies on partisan bias, a number of other biases have emerged. Scholars have









acknowledged that there are unintended forms of bias, such as situational (e.g., an

incumbent having more command of the media) and structural (e.g. programming time

limits or print news hole), but as society and the media system have become more

complex, so have the types of biases evident in the media. One such bias is the negative

bias. Scholars note that not only is there a tendency for television reporters to have more

airtime than the actual candidates or public servants but also tend to cover negative news

much more than positive (Kaid et al., 1996; Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). Not only are

journalists focused on negative aspects of the election, they also seem to be negative

about the process in general: Jamieson notes that "as early as August 1996, media

commentators were characterizing the U.S. presidential election as 'boring'" (Jamieson et

al., 1998, p 232). It is noteworthy that the media personalities are not only biased towards

negative content, but also that they are inclined assert their own personal views and

characterizations of the political process into what one would hope would be substantive,

informative coverage.

In The Political Pundits (Nimmo, & Combs, 1992), the authors agree that the

pundits mediate reality for viewers, creating a less informed public that is a detriment to

democracy, and they also argue that punditry traces its roots as far back as Biblical times

and to the time of Aristotle and that the trend of having "sages" and "oracles" has become

big business, especially on television where "chattering" is apparently revered.

A major problem with narrators dominating television news is that the public may

be likely to buy into what these journalists are selling: "To the media conscious viewer,

the television news format establishes journalistic credibility" (Snow, 149, 1983). This

format influence is perhaps largely due to the visual emphasis and editing techniques









used in this electronic medium: "Packaging such emphases within formats that are visual,

brief, action oriented and dramatic produces an exciting and familiar tempo to news

audiences" (Altheide et al., 2001, p. 307). In addition to the packaging and format, the

authoritative manner in which television personalities state opinions as facts lend a sense

of credibility to what is often subjective commentary.

"There are two principal problems with political commentary on television (1)

today's political talk shows contribute little, and sometimes even detract, from the robust

debate needed to sustain a healthy democracy; and (2) television leads top commentators

astray, making them celebrities or converting them into cartoon figures while diverting

them from their finest and most socially useful pursuits" (Hirsch, 1991, 211).

It is of concern that, "the media become part of the dialectic process of the

production of consent, shaping the consensus while reflecting it" (Jensen, 1992, p. 2).

This insertion of the media into the process of events was exemplified in a study of the

Susan Smith murder trial in South Carolina in which Zoch (2001) argues, "The impact of

the media presence on the town of Union and the trial itself was also framed through the

use of exemplars that highlighted how the media were becoming part of the stories. These

exemplars are identified as 'events occurring because of the media presence' and came in

two forms: those which were representative of how the media affected the trial, and those

which represented the media's effect on the town" (p. 201).

Similarly, Johnson, Boudreau, and Glowaki (1996) explored the issue of media self

coverage in political campaigns using a quantitative methodology. Their study examined

both amount and tone of coverage devoted to different themes of media coverage during

the 1992 presidential election in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune and on









ABC, CBS, and NBC. The researchers identified four types of stories about the media in

the campaign: (1) media performance/impact; (2) media coverage of policy issues and

campaign issues; (3) candidate media strategy/candidate media performance; and (4)

general media stories. They found only 8 percent of all story themes coded focused on the

media in the media coverage of the 1992 election cycle, with the most prevalent theme

being general media stories. While this might seem like an insignificant percentage of

stories, this study of media self-coverage from the early nineties, points towards an

alarming trend.

Broadly, "metacommunication is defined as the news media's response to a new,

third force in news making: professional political PR. Metacommunication is defined as

the news media's self referential reflections on the nature of the interplay between

political public relations and political journalism" (Esser & D'Angelo 2001a).

Esser and D'Angelo and their colleagues have done extensive work on the role of

both print and electronic media reporting during domestic and international political

campaigns and have identified what they refer to as a postmodern metacommunication

frame. This postmodern metacommunication frame, they argue, is one in which reporters

increasingly report the role journalists play in the political process. They argue that, "The

main focus of modern campaigns centers around publicity generated in television studios.

They are TV-dominated, nationally coordinated and advised by (mostly external)

professional consultants specializing in communications, marketing, polling and

campaign management" (Esser & D'Angelo, 2001b, p. 3).

This postmodern metacommunication frame is broken down into two categories:

(1) self-reflexive news and (2) strategy/process news. Self-reflexive reporting refers to









coverage that describes the role the media is playing in political campaigns.

Strategy/process news refers to stories that describe how political candidates and their

professional communications strategists (often negatively labeled as "Spin Doctors")

attempt to use the media to communicate crafted messages to the public. Much of this

work emphasizes an adversarial relationship between the media and the political players

(D'Angelo, 1999, 2002; D'Angelo & Esser, 2003; Esser, 2000, 2001a, 2001b; Esser &

D'Angelo, 2002, 2003; Esser, Reinemann, & Fan 1999, 2000, 2001; Esser & Spanier,

2003).

Three key components to this theoretical argument of an existence of a postmodern

political communication age are (1) viewing the news media as a political institution

(Cook, 1998, 2001; Esser & D'Angelo, 2001b); (2) viewing political public relations as a

strategic communication endeavor (Bennett, & Manheim, 2000; Esser, & D'Angelo,

2001b; Manheim, 1998); and (3) viewing the news media's response to these prior two

developments as metacommunication (D'Angelo, 1999; Esser & D'Angelo, 2001b;

Esser, Reinemann, & Fan, 2001).

This emphasis on the strategy/process news is troubling to a number of media

critics, but there are mixed interpretations of its impact on society. On the negative side,

researchers argue that one type of strategy/process news is adversarial and is detrimental

to the democratic process (Blumer, 1997; Kerbel, 1997, 1998, 1999). However, other

scholars identify a second category of strategy/process news-educational

strategy/process news, and this second category is heralded as a new type of reporting

that serves to inform the electorate and enhance the democratic public sphere (D'Angelo,

1999; McNair, 2000).









Stebenne (1993) argues that this trend in media self coverage is "a logical

outgrowth of the new emphasis on the political process and the growing sense of the

media's central place within it" (p. 87-88), and indeed research indicates that the

metacoverage frame has become increasingly prevalent in political campaign reporting.

Studies of the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns found use of this frame accounted

for 20 percent of the coverage in the 1992 election cycle and increased to 25 percent in

the 1996 coverage (Kerbel, 1998; Kerbel, Apee, & Ross, 2000). This current dissertation

aims to examine the level of media self coverage in the reporting of the media campaign,

in order to see if this trend appears beyond the political process of campaigning and

elections and into the realm of war and national security.

Kerbel (1994) posits that this increase in self-reflexive reporting has grown out of

the increase in political public relations attempting to control media content through the

use of somewhat questionable tactics-tactics that always put their candidate in the best

light and do not necessarily accurately represent reality. Kerbel asserts that through this

process of being manipulated by campaign strategists, the media has become more self

aware of the importance of its role in the political dialogue or a campaign and has

therefore considered the topic of how they cover a campaign, and the relationship

between candidates and the media, as content worthy of substantive coverage (86-90).

The current dissertation examines whether or not this apparent cycle of strategist

manipulation and media self awareness of the role it plays in the civic dialogue of a

military conflict are apparent.

A study that explicated and applied the research of metacommunication to a crisis

situation, specifically, the first four hours of televised news coverage following the









terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Connolly-Ahem, et al. (2002) found that both

categories of metacommunication were prevalent in that reporting. The researchers found

that self-reflexive reporting accounted for 43 percent of the stories. This is one of the rare

cases in which the concept of metacommunication was applied to non political campaign

coverage, and even though it only focuses on initial coverage, the study indicates that

metacommunication in news content is not limited to an election cycle but is also

prevalent during a crisis situation.

The current dissertation will add to the existing research on metacommunication by

explicating a theoretical perspective that has primarily focused on political campaign

reporting and applying it to the extended coverage of a military campaign. It will

additionally add the component of Internet coverage, an area that has not previously been

explored in terms of a war or the metacommunication concept in general.

Hypotheses and Research Questions

Based on the prior literature on framing theory, evidence of metacommunication

frames and self-reflexive reporting in political campaigns, this study suggests the

following hypotheses about televised new broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation

Iraqi Freedom:

HI: Televised news broadcasts will rely more on media sources than on
independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

H2. Web coverage will rely more on media sources than on independent sources in
the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

H3. Overall, the episodic media frame will be most prevalent during the initial
stages of the war, and the thematic media frame will be become more prevalent as
the war progresses.

This dissertation seeks to answer the following research questions about televised

news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom:









R1: What were the prevalent frames relied on in the media coverage of the war, and
were there significant differences in the prevalence of these frames in the televised
news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R2: How prevalent is the metacommunication frame in comparison to the other
frames in the media coverage of the war, and is this comparison significantly
different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi
Freedom?

R3: Did the prevalence of certain frames change over time in the media coverage of
the war, and were there significant difference in the prevalence of these frames in
the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R4: Did the prevalence of the metacommunication frame, in comparison to the
other frames, change over time in the media coverage of the war, and was this
change significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage
of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R5: Where there more cases of self-reflexive or strategy/process types of
metacommunication frames in the media coverage of the war, and was the amount
of these cases significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web
coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R6: What were the types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames relied on in
the media coverage of the war, and was the reliance on these self-reflexive
metacommunication frames significantly different in televised news broadcasts and
Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R7. What were the types of strategy/process metacommunication frames relied on
in the media coverage of the war, and was the reliance on these strategy/process
metacommunication frames significantly different in televised news broadcasts and
Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R8: Which category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was most
prevalent-the adversarial, educational or neutral in the media coverage of the war,
and was the prevalence of these three categories of the strategy/process
metacommunication frames significantly different in the televised news broadcasts
and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

R9: Was the pattern of episodic and thematic frames over time as the war
progressed different between televised news broadcast and Web coverage?

R10: How were the Bush administration's public information efforts assessed in the
media coverage of the war, and were these assessments significantly different in the
televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?






30


R11: How were the Iraqi government's public information efforts assessed in
media coverage of the war, and are were these assessments significantly different in
the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?














CHAPTER 3
METHODS

This study uses quantitative content analysis as the method to measure the presence

or absence of metacommunication frames, the categories thereof, and to make

comparisons between TV news broadcasts and Web coverage about Operation Iraqi

Freedom.

Sample

The study used content from United States' television news and Web coverage

from March 20, 2003-the first official day of news coverage about the U.S. military

strikes on Iraq, through May 1, 2003-when President Bush made a declaration of

victory. For purposes of this study, the story was the unit of analysis, and all war-related

stories collected during this time period were used.

Television news coverage consisted of evening broadcasts from the ABC, CBS,

CNN, and Fox News. Television news coverage from the prime-time evening newscasts

recorded on videotape was examined. Thirty minutes of news coverage from each

network's news broadcast was the amount of coverage from each day that was analyzed.

These times for ABC and CBS were from 6:30 7:00 p.m. (EST), and for CNN and Fox

the 7:00 7:30 p.m. (EST) time period was used. Viewership of these networks' news

broadcasts during the Iraqi war are reported as follows: ABC's WorldNews Tonight-

average of 9.9 million viewers; CBS evening news-average of 7.5 million viewers;

CNN-average of 2.7 million viewers; and Fox news-average of 3.3 million viewers

(Johnson, 2003).









The Web sites' data that were analyzed were systematically downloaded daily-

manual, saving each Web page as a separate file. This data collection captured both the

text and the graphics, but not the multimedia, such as audio or video clips. The Web news

coverage sample consisted of the four sites: ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, CNN.com,

and FOXNews.com, which newsknife.com rated in their list of the top Iraq war news

sites, and in their rating of the overall top U.S. news sites of 2003 (newsknife.com, 2003).

A constraint that affected the sample size and prevented using the entire universe of

televised news broadcasts and the compatible Web site coverage for these networks was

the problem faced by NBC's TV and Web formats. The initial goal of this study was to

include NBC and MSNBC in the televised news broadcasts sample and their Web sites in

the Web coverage sample. The barrier to doing so was that they do not have separate

Web sites, but instead during the time of this data collection, NBC had a Web site that

merged its multiple media products including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and Newsweek.

This hybrid Web site often did not distinguish which original media channel its content is

attributed to, and made it impossible to do a balanced and accurate comparison with the

other TV and Web coverage being analyzed for this study and would have potentially

skewed the data when comparing the two media channels of the Web coverage and the

Televised news broadcasts.

This TV news and Web coverage sample was limited in that it focused only on

leading U.S. media outlets' coverage of the war. Additionally, the material from the

stories were coded and compared in this analysis was the verbal/textual content only-

not the graphic elements. Since the TV coverage was obviously moving video, and the

Web coverage collected only provided still images, a comparison of the visuals would not









be compatible, given the differences in the manifest content of these visual elements.

However, while not officially coded this constraint of comparing two differing media

channels does not prohibit using examples of noteworthy visual content to help clarify

examples of stories that exemplify certain types of coverage in the discussion section of

this study. The visuals were used in an illustrative way to enhance understanding of the

context of a given metacommunication frame.

Categories and Definitions

This study was designed to analyze the types of sources used during the electronic

media's coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Therefore, each individual story was

coded with a number of variables, including: television broadcast news network, Web

site, length of the story (in seconds and words), main reporter or interviewer, and sources.

Unit of Analysis
For purposes of this study, the news story was the unit of analysis. For TV

coverage a story was marked by a distinct beginning and ending of a central topic area

(i.e., public information, White House communications strategy, Removal of

Saddam/Regime change, etc.). A story might contain numerous sources and information

related to the central topic; and until there was a distinct shift in topic area, the coders

considered a unit of time devoted to one central topic a single story.

In order to determine this, coders watched videotaped televised news broadcasts of

the war coverage, identified the beginning and ending of a story, watched it again and

timed it using a stop watch to determine the length of the story. The coders then watched

the story for a third time in order to determine the manifest verbal content of the story

before coding it.









For Web coverage, a story consisted of the use of a headline and subsequent text.

Story length was determined by a word count, and the coders coded for the manifest

textual content of each Web story. Only the Web stories for each given day were coded-

not the archived coverage that was linked to from a given story, but instead just the

current story with a byline and date for each day in the time-period analyzed.

Source Attribution
Coders identified the presence or absence of sources attributed in each story from a

predetermined list based on prior research: (1) Anchor (for televised news broadcasts) or

Author (for Web coverage); (2) Reporter; (3) Anonymous; (4) Special Interest/Lobbying

Group; (5) Military Expert; (6) Republican Political Pundit; (7) Democratic Political

Pundit; (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit; (9) Media Personality from Same Network;

(10) Media Personality from Other Organization; (11) Scholar/Media Critic; (12)

Embedded Journalist; (13) Associated Press or other Wire Service; (14) Citizens; (15)

Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors; (16) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson;

(17) Report/Document/Poling Data; (18) U.S. Military Official(s); (19) Iraqi Dissidents;

(20) Other. The option of selecting "other" provided coders with the opportunity to

identify this source in an open-ended area on the codesheet.

Coders were then asked to determine the number of Independent and Media

Sources relied on in each story. An independent source was an individual or group that

was not clearly identified as being a part of the media. A media source was identified as

an individual or group that was clearly a member of the media.

Frames
Coders determined the presence or absence of the following list of frames, based on

prior research. The list of frames to be coded were: (1) Military Conflict-frames that









emphasize the military battle itself on macro or micro levels; (2) American Patriotism-

frames that emphasize citizens rallying around the flag and a resurgence of American

patriotism in various manifestations; (3) Protest-frames that show individuals or groups,

in the U.S. or abroad protesting or the discussion of protest of the war; (4) Human

Interest-frames that emphasize the human element of the war, including soldiers, their

families, and any citizens; (5) Responsibility-frames that assign responsibility for the

military conflict to a given individual, government, or regime; (6) Economic

Consequences-frames that focus on the either short or long-term economic

consequences that the war will have domestically, in the Middle East, or internationally;

(7) Diagnostic-frames that emphasize an assessment of how and why this military

conflict developed; (8) Prognostic-frames that emphasize what outcome of the military

conflict will be, including the removal of Saddam/regime change, regional stability, loss

of U.S. soldiers, etc.; (9) Rebuilding of Iraq-frames that specifically deal with the

rebuilding of Iraqi and the future of the country and its people after the war is finished;

and (10) Metacommunication-a frame that emphasizes either the media's self-

reflexivity or the communication process between sources and the news media.

Coders then indicated if each frame that was coded as present was best

characterized as being episodic or thematic. Episodic frames were ones that dealt with

specific events and incidents, individuals, and more micro-level news coverage, and

thematic frames were those that dealt with general, broad topic areas of information,

concepts and abstract ideas, and more macro-level news coverage. Additionally, coders

indicated which of the sources from the above list discussed the content associated with









these frames by writing the identification number of the sources) in the space provided

on the codesheet.

Additionally, coders were asked to determine the association of the

metacommunication frame to the other above-listed frames. If the metacommunication

frame was coded as being present, coders were instructed to indicate which of the above

source and subject frames areas the metacommunication directly related to by filling in

the identification number of the frame(s) in the spaces provided. However, coders were

also instructed that the metacommunication frame may, at given times, be treated as a

stand-alone frame. These cases would be when the frame was not clearly associated with

any of the other established frames, and the story this was about a non-issue or topic but

was, instead purely media-narcissistic babble and self-talk.

Metacommunication Frames
The study was designed primarily to determine the extent, or level, of

metacommunication by the media during the reporting of a military campaign. For

purposes of this study, metacommunication was defined as the news media's self-

reflexive coverage of itself, in a general sense and as the interplay between the Bush

administration's or the Iraqi government's public information efforts about Operation

Iraqi Freedom and the news media's assessments thereof in resulting televised news

broadcasts and Web coverage of the war.

The concept of metacommunication was further broken down into two distinct

areas: self-reflexive reporting and strategy/process news. While, it is acknowledged that,

"The two dimensions of meta-coverage-press and publicity-can at times overlap

within news stories" (Esser & D'Angelo, 2003, p. 620), for purposes of this study the two

differing types of metacommunication were treated as mutually exclusive categories, and









coders characterized each instance of metacommunication frame presence as being

characterized as either one or the other type of metacommunication, not both. Coders

based these decisions on the following definitions and examples of self-reflexive and

strategy/process metacommunication frames.

The self-reflexive metacommunication frame was defined as any coverage that

referred directly or indirectly to the media's role in bringing news about the U.S. military

effort against Iraq to the public. Incidents of self-reflexive reporting include: information

about the impact the coverage of the military campaign was having on the public;

references to the work of the television news network or Web sites' own reporters (such

as embedded journalists); referrals to the electronic media's other news products for more

information; members of the media used as news sources; and mentions of the work of

other news media outlets.

If the self reflexive metacommunication frame was coded as being present, the

coders identified which of the following types of coverage best characterized this frame:

(1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage; (2) Anchors or Media Personalities

Discussing their Opinions; (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the

War; (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News

Organization, Network, or Publication; (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other

Journalists from another News; Organization, Network, or Publications; (6) The News

Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event; (7) Cross Promotion and

Cross Referencing of Media; or (8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing.

The strategy/process metacommunication frame referred to any coverage that refers

directly or indirectly to the relationship between the media and the leaders of the









Operation Iraqi Freedom. Strategy/process news is defined as information about how

government, official agencies, and other groups rely on the media to relay important

information during the U.S. military campaign against Iraq. Examples of strategy/process

news include: officials using the media to make public announcements; obvious staged

events; live coverage of press conferences; visuals of reporters attending press

conferences; and direct interviews with public officials.

This study additionally evaluated strategy/process metacommunication frames on

another sub-level distinction. Coders determined if the strategy/process

metacommunication was characterized as being adversarial, educational, or neutral.

Adversarial types of strategy/process metacommunication frames included stories that

used negative labels that implied manipulation or the use of ploys in the communication

process as "spin" or called source information a "sound bite." The educational type of

strategy/process metacommunication frame was one in which the viewer would actually

learn something about the communication process between the source and the media but

was without any negative connotations and was, instead, unbiased and clearly

informative about the news gathering or dissemination process. The neutral type of

strategy/process metacommunication frame was one in which there is no negative or

positive slant to the communication process, but instead just states the occurrence of a

communication from source to the media without providing any substantive information

about the transferal of said information or the news process.

Public Information Efforts

Bush administration's public information efforts were defined as follows: Coders

indicated the Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administration's Public

Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4)









Not Applicable. Additionally, coders were asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that

were used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended

information in the space provided.

Iraqi Government's public information efforts were also coded. Coders indicated

the Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi government's Public Information

Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not

Applicable. Additionally, coders were asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that were

used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended

information in the space provided.

Coding Process

Based on prior research addressed in the literature review, and the above-listed

hypotheses and research questions, codesheets and codebooks were developed. In order

to make the coding process as expeditious and clear as possible for coders who were

assisting in the coding of the content for this study, two codesheets and codebooks were

developed: one for televised news stories and another for Web coverage. These coding

instruments were identical in all ways, except for areas that dealt directly with the

specific medium (such as author or anchor).

Two undergraduate and two graduate students (one of whom was this researcher)

were trained in a series of separate coding sessions for both televised news broadcasts

and Web coverage coding, and the coding process was implemented. Intercoder

reliability across all categories for both codesheets ranged from an average of .75 to 1.00

per item and was established for the televised news broadcasts at an average of .97 and







40


for the Web coverage at an average of .95, using Holsti's formula.1 The item by item

(category) reliability is reported in the sample codesheets, which are Appendices C and

D.


1 Intercoder reliability will be calculated based on Holsti's formula IR=2M/(N1+N2), where M is the number of agreements between the coders, N1 is the total
number of coding decisions made by Coder 1 andN2 is the total number of coding decisions made by Coder 2














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

This study employed a quantitative content analysis of televised news broadcasts

and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi freedom. The overall goal was to determine the

level and assessment of metacommunication in the media coverage about the 2003 war

with Iraq.

Analysis of News Stories

All stories from March 20, 2003 through May 1, 2000 (N= 1,733) were coded and

analyzed. This sample of media stories about the war consisted of taped evening televised

news broadcasts (n = 751) and downloads of Web site coverage (n = 982).

Televised News Broadcast Source Reliance

Hypothesis one posited that televised news broadcasts would rely more on media

sources than on independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The

results indicate this was not the case.

Overall, 3,875 sources were coded as being present in the televised news

broadcasts during this study of the war coverage. Of these sources, 2,084 (54%) sources

were listed as independent sources, and only 1,791 (46%) sources were listed as media

sources for the televised news broadcasts about Operation Iraqi freedom. This means that

the average number of independent sources in each newscast was 2.77, and the average

number of media sources was only 2.38. This difference is statistically significant, t =

4.97, df = 750, p < .001. Thus hypothesis one was not supported.









Web Coverage Source Reliance

Hypothesis two posited that Web coverage would rely more on media sources than

on independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As with hypothesis

one, the results indicate that this was not so.

Overall, 7,005 sources were coded as being present in the Web coverage during this

study of the war coverage. Of these sources, there were 5,100 (73%) sources listed as

independent sources and only 1,905 (37%) sources listed as media sources for the Web

coverage about Operation Iraqi freedom. This means that the average number of

independent sources in each newscast was 5.19, and the average number of media

sources was only 1.94. This difference is statistically significant, t = 25.83, df = 981, p <

.001. Thus hypothesis two was not supported.

Episodic and Thematic Frame Prevalence

Hypothesis three posited that overall, the episodic media frame would be most

prevalent during the initial stages of the war, and the thematic media frame would

become more prevalent as the war progressed. In order to test this, all news stories from

March 20 through May 1, were broken into three equal time periods: time one, March 20

through April 2; time two, April 3 through April 17; and time three, April 18 through

May 1.

Frequencies of the stories that were coded as having the presence of episodic and

thematic frames were computed for each time period. The results indicate that across

each of the three times, respectively, there were considerably more episodic frames

present than thematic ones. At time one 96.6% of the frames were episodic and 0.04%

were thematic; at time two 94.3% of the frames were episodic and 5.7% were thematic;

and at time three 91.1% were episodic and 9.09% thematic. Thus hypothesis three was









not supported. See Table 4-1 for a total of the episodic and thematic frames and a

breakdown by time and frame/category relationship.

Frame Prevalence

Research question one asked what were the prevalent frames relied on in the media

coverage of the war and if there were significant differences in the prevalence of these

frames in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In order to answer this question a crosstabulation was computed to determine frequencies

of the presence of the ten frames overall and by media channel. See Table 4-2.

Overall, the most prevalent frames, from highest to lowest presence, were military

conflict, metacommunication, human interest, diagnostic, prognostic, rebuilding of Iraq,

protest, economic consequences, American patriotism, and responsibility. The patterns of

prevalence for the two media channels compared in this study follow closely in order

with slight deviations, but these differences were not significant.

For televised news broadcasts, the most prevalent frames, from highest to lowest

presence, were military conflict, metacommunication, human interest, diagnostic,

rebuilding of Iraq, prognostic, protest, American patriotism, economic consequences, and

responsibility.

For Web coverage, the most prevalent frames, from highest to lowest presence,

were military conflict, metacommunication, human interest, rebuilding of Iraq,

diagnostic, economic consequences, protest, prognostic, American patriotism, and

responsibility.












Table 4-1. Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time


All Items
(n = 4,186)


Frames
Military Conflict
American Patriotism
Protest
Human Interest
Responsibility
Economic Consequences
Diagnostic
Prognostic
Rebuilding of Iraq
Metacommunication
Total


Time One
(n = 1,729)

Episodic Thematic
597 16
48 4
76 11
199 11
23 2


1,357
124
181
589
65
126
274
206
254
1,104
4,186


61
112
42
32
466
1,656
(96%)


4
2
5
4
10
73
(4%)


Time Two
(n = 1,789)

Episodic Thematic
519 29
52 3
55 4
248 20
23 5
38 2
98 10
96 10
120 6
436 15
1,685 104
(94%) (6%)


Time Three
(n = 668)

Episodic Thematic
172 24
15 2
33 2
99 12
8 4
16 5
44 8
36 17
81 11
169 8
585 83
(88%) (12%)









Metacommunication Frame Prevalence

Research question two asked how prevalent was the metacommunication frame in

comparison to the other frames in the media coverage of the war and if this comparison

was significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of

Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As Table 4-2 also shows, the Metacommunication frame was a very prevalent

frame in both the media channels. In fact 63% of the televised news broadcasts and 65%

of the Web stories include some type of metacommunication frame. However, there was

no statistically significant difference in amount of metacommunication frames relied on

between the Web and television news coverage.

Table 4-2. Frame Prevalence in Stories by Media Channel

Television News Web All
Broadcasts Coverage Items A
(n = 2,290) (n= 2,030) (n = 4,320)
Military Conflict 79% 78% 1,361 .29
American Patriotism 8 7 125 .28
Protest 12 10 183 1.49
Human Interest 41 30 599 20.64**
Responsibility 4 4 66 .37
Economic Consequences 4 10 130 21.69**
Diagnostic 22 11 277 38.71**
Prognostic 15 10 208 12.80
Rebuilding of Iraq 17 14 259 3.60
Metacommunication 63 65 1,112 .32
**p <.001

Frame Prevalence over Time

Research question three asked if the prevalence of certain frames changed over

time in the media coverage of the war and if there were significant differences in the

prevalence of these frames in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of

Operation Iraqi Freedom.









In terms of frame prevalence over time one, time two, and time three, there is a

slight increase in overall frames relied on in time two, as compared with time one, and

then there is a dramatic decrease in frame presence in time three. Most frames stayed

consistent, in terms of their prevalence over time, as compared with their prevalence

overall. There were, however, a several noteworthy differences in specific shifts in frame

prevalence over time. Both the protest and economic consequences frames dropped to the

least two prevalent frames in time two, as compared to their respectively higher positions

during time one, but they leveled out to a moderate position during time three. The most

significant pattern of change over time was the steadily increasing presence of the

rebuilding of Iraq frame.

In terms of media channel comparisons of frame prevalence by time, most of the 10

frames were fairly evenly distributed among the televised news broadcasts and Web

coverage across time one, time two, and time three and in keeping with the overall

pattern. Overall, the most prevalent frames across the three time periods were military

conflict and metacommunication, which remained at high percentages across all three

times. However, two frames that were different at statistically significant levels of p < .05

among the media channels across time were the prognostic and rebuilding of Iraq frames.

An interesting difference was the pattern of the presence of the prognostic frame, which

was relatively low at 23% during time one, rising to 51% at time two, and then dropped

to 26% at time three. Another noteworthy deviation was the rebuilding of Iraq frame

which similarly was also low at 14% for time one, 50% at time two, and then also

dropped to 36% at time three. See Table 4-4 for a total of the frames over three time

periods and a comparison of these totals by media channel.









Metacommunication Frame Prevalence over Time

Research question four asked if the prevalence of the metacommunication frame, in

comparison to the other frames, changed over time in the media coverage of the war and

if this change was significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web

coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As table 4-4 also shows, the metacommunication

frame remained the second most prevalent frame during all three time periods, and there

was no statistically significant difference in its prevalence between the media channels.

Types of Metacommunication Frames

Research question five asked if there were more cases of self-reflexive or

strategy/process types of metacommunication frames in the media coverage of the war

and if the amount of these cases was significantly different in the televised news

broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

To consider these issues a crosstabulation was calculated between the two types of

metacommunication frames and the two media channels analyzed in this study of the war.

The results indicate that the self-reflexive metacommunication frame was more prevalent

than the strategy/process metacommunication frame for both the televised news

broadcasts and the Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. See Table 4-3.

Table 4-3. Self-Reflexive and Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames by Media

Televised News Web Coverage All Items
Broadcasts
(n = 472) (n = 635) (n = 1,107)

Self-Reflexive 62% 60% 61%
Strategv/Process 38 40 39














Table 4-4. Frames Relied on in Stories Covering Operation Iraqi Freedom across Three Periods of Time and by Media Channel
Frames Time One Time Two Time Three A2
(N= 4,320) (n = 1,642) (n = 1,858) (n = 820)
Military Conflict (n= 1,361) 45% 41% 14% 223.36**
Televised News Broadcasts 46 40 14
Web Coverage 44 41 15 .81
American Patriotism (n = 125) 42 45 13 22.10**
Televised News Broadcasts 39 46 15
Web Coverage 44 44 12 .61
Protest ( = 183) 48 33 19 22.16**
Televised News Broadcasts 48 30 22
Web Coverage 47 36 17 1.25
Human Interest ( = 599) 36 46 18 66.45**
Televised News Broadcasts 34 46 20
Web Coverage 38 45 17 1.52
Responsibility (n = 66) 38 44 18 7.18**
Televised News Broadcasts 35 42 23
Web Coverage 40 46 14 .76
Economic Consequences ( = 130) 52 32 16 25.68**
Televised News Broadcasts 51 26 23
Web Coverage 53 43 13 1.47
Diagnostic ( = 277) 42 39 19 26.69**
Televised News Broadcasts 40 47 23
Web Coverage 44 44 12 5.86
Prognostic (n = 208) 23 51 26 31.05**
Televised News Broadcasts 16 53 31
Web Coverage 31 49 20 7.57*
Rebuilding of Iraq (n = 259) 14 50 36 48.91**
Televised News Broadcasts 7 52 41
Web Coverage 21 47 32 10.38*
Metacommunication (n = 1,112) 43 41 16 151.28**
Televised News Broadcasts 42 40 18
Web Coverage 42 42 16 3.20
*Chi square test indicate differences among time one, time two, and time three for the frame at p < .05.
**Chi square test indicate that the difference between television and Web coverage is different for time one, time two, and time three at = p < .05.









Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Frames

Research question six asked what types of self-reflexive metacommunication

frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if reliance on these types of

self-reflexive metacommunication frames was significantly different in televised news

broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In order to answer this question, a crosstabulation was calculated between the self-

reflexive metacommunication frame types and the televised news broadcasts and Web

coverage of the war.

Table 4-5. Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Types by Media Channel
Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage Total
(n = 295) (n = 383) (n = 678)
Role of Technology
in Attaining Coverage .3% .8% .6%
Anchors or Media
Personalities Discussing
their Opinions 7 2 4
Reporters Discussing
Personal Experience of
Covering the War 14 8 11
Reporters Reporting about
Journalists from their
Organization or Network 46 25 34
Reporters Reporting about
Journalist from other
Organizations or Networks 14 17 15
News Media Emphasizing
their Role as Participant
in Event 6 7 6
Cross Promotion and Cross
Referencing of Media 8 37 24
Insider Views of the War
or War Strategizing 5 4 5
A = 93.74, df = 7,p .001.
However, this chi square calculation should be interpreted with caution since some cells
have values of less than 5.









Table 4-5 shows, the most frequently used self-reflexive frame involved "reporters

reporting about journalists from their own organization or network," which made up 34%

of the total self-reflexive frames. The frame in which the media engaged in "cross

promotion and cross referencing of media" also occurred frequently (24%). An

interesting outlier here is the low prevalence of the "role of technology," which showed

up much more frequently in the Kaid et al. (1994) study of CNN coverage of the 1991

Gulf War.

However, the chi square test indicates that the pattern of self-reflexive frames was

not the same between media (see Table 4-5). For instance, whereas the most frequently

used self-reflexive frame in television news broadcasts was the "reporters reporting about

journalists from their own organization or network" (46%), Web coverage used the "cross

promotion and cross refereeing of media" (37%) more often.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames

Research question seven asked what types of strategy/process metacommunication

frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if reliance on these types of

strategy/process metacommunication frames was significantly different in televised news

broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In order to answer this question, a crosstabulation was calculated between the

strategy/process metacommunication frame types and the televised news broadcasts and

Web coverage of the war.

Chi square tests indicate the strategy/process metacommunication frames were not

highly similar between the media channels, and the reliance on these frames was

significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi









Freedom. See Table 4-6 for a comparison of the prevalence of the strategy/process

metacommunication frames by televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war.

Table 4-6. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Types by Media Channel

Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage All Items
(n= 177) (n = 252) (n= 429)

Pentagon Information
Strategy 9% 7% 8%
White House/
Bush Administration
Information Strategy 26 26 26
Military Officials/Troops
Information Strategy 24 25 26
Partisan Information
Source Strategy 4 11 8
Bush Administration and
News Media Relationships
and Interactions 6 18 13
Journalists Participation in
Military Events or Press Briefings 6 9 11
Standards of the Quality of the
News Coverage 12 2 6
Influence of PR/News Management
Strategies on Journalists 14 9 11

A = 41.98, df= 7,p<.001.

However, this chi square calculation should be interpreted with caution since some cells
have values of less than 5.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories

Research question eight asked which category of the strategy/process

metacommunication frame was most prevalent-the adversarial, educational or neutral in

the media coverage of the war and if the prevalence of these three categories of the

strategy/process metacommunication frames was significantly different in the televised

news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.









Overall, the educational category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame

was most prevalent (46%), the neutral category of the strategy/process

metacommunication frame was second-most prevalent (36%), and the adversarial

category of the strategy process metacommunication frame was least prevalent (18%).

For the televised news broadcasts of the war, the neutral category of the

strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalent, with the educational

category being second-most prevalent, and the adversarial category being the least

prevalent. For the Web coverage of the war, the educational category of the

strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalent, with the neutral category

being second-most prevalent, and the adversarial category being the least prevalent.

In comparing the prevalence of these three categories of the strategy/process

metacommunication frame by media channel, the most striking difference is the much

larger number of educational strategy/process metacommunication frames present in the

Web coverage as compared to a much smaller number being present in the televised news

coverage. When calculating a chi square statistical analysis, the results indicate that these

three categories of the strategy/process metacommunication frames were significantly

different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

See Table 4-7 for a comparison of this category by media.

Episodic and Thematic Frame Media Comparisons

Nonetheless, Table 4-9 presents the results of analysis of the difference in the

episodic/thematic pattern between media over time. Table 4-9 shows that, overall, the

prevalence of episodic and thematic frames across all three time spans (as broken down

in the testing of Hypothesis 3) was similar for both television news and Web coverage of

the war. As shown before, the pattern clearly illustrates a dominance of episodic frames









over thematic frames at the beginning, middle, and end of the war. Only one frame

shows a departure from this pattern, the "responsibility" frame. This frame was covered

by television news through all three time periods as an episodic theme, but Web

coverage, which followed television's lead in the beginning and middle time periods,

focused its responsibility frame coverage on a more thematic level in the ending (third)

time period.

Table 4-7. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories by Media
Televised News Web Coverage Total
Broadcasts
(n= 172) (n = 257) (n = 429)

Adversarial 26% 14% 18%
Educational 30 56 46
Neutral 44 30 36

A = 27.77, df = 2,p .01


The ninth research question concerned whether the pattern of episodic and thematic

frames over time as the war progressed was different between television news broadcasts

and Web coverage. This question was originally posed in line with the assumption that

the third hypothesis would prove true--that is, that episodic frames would be more

prevalent in the beginning of the war, progressing toward greater prevalence of thematic

coverage as the war progressed. However, this hypothesis was not substantiated, since

episodic coverage remained the overwhelmingly dominant frame type throughout all

three war coverage time periods tested.









Bush Administration Public Information Assessments

Research question 10 asked how were the Bush administration's public information

efforts assessed in the media coverage of the war and if these assessments were

significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage.

Over half (57%) of the total stories did not discuss the Bush Administration public

information efforts; these stories were omitted from analysis for this question. The

remaining 263 stories were rated as positive, negative, or neutral in regard to their

coverage of the Bush Administration efforts. As Table 4-8 shows, the overall percentage

of these stories portrayed the Bush Administration information efforts as neutral (50%),

and the remainder were categorized as 45% positive and 5% negative.

However, again looking at Table 4-8, it is clear that there is a difference in how the

Bush information efforts fared in the television versus Web media. While television gave

the Bush efforts a positive score in 45% of such stories, the Web only registered a

positive evaluation in 27%. Likewise, the Web coverage was more likely to be negative

toward the Bush Administration information efforts, casting a negative view in 9% of its

stories with this frame.

Table 4-8. Bush Administration Public Information Efforts
Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage Total
(n = 351) (n = 389) (n = 740)
Positive 45% 27% 36%
Negative 5 9 7
Neutral 50 64 57

2= 30.18, df = 2,p <.001














Table 4-9. Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time and by Media Channel


Frames All Items Time One Time Two Time Three
(N= 4.186) Episodic Thematic Episodic Thematic Episodic Thematic X2
Military Conflict (n = 1,357) 97% 3% 95% 5% 88% 12%
Television News Broadcast 92 2 95 5 92 8
Web Coverage 96 4 94 6 88 12 .04
American Patriotism (n = 124) 92 8 94 6 88 12
Television News Broadcast 100 0 92 8 89 11
Web Coverage 87 13 97 3 88 12 .62
Protest (n= 181) 87 13 93 7 94 6
Television News Broadcast 93 7 100 0 89 11
Web Coverage 82 18 88 12 100 0 2.62
Human Interest (n= 589) 95 5 93 7 89 11
Television News Broadcast 98 2 94 6 90 10
Web Coverage 92 8 91 9 88 12 3.67
Responsibility ( = 65) 92 8 82 18 67 33
Television News Broadcast 100 0 92 8 100 0
Web Coverage 86 14 73 17 20 80 7.91*
Economic Consequences (4 = 126) 94 6 95 5 76 24
Television News Broadcast 100 0 88 12 86 14
Web Coverage 92 8 94 6 71 29 .52
Diagnostic (n = 274) 98 2 91 9 85 15
Television News Broadcast 100 0 95 5 85 15
Web Coverage 96 4 85 15 85 15 2.19
Prognostic (n = 206) 89 11 89 11 68 32
Television News Broadcast 89 11 90 10 74 26
Web Coverage 90 10 88 12 56 44 2.54
Rebuilding of Iraq (n = 254) 89 11 94 6 87 13
Television News Broadcast 78 22 94 6 90 10
Web Coverage 93 7 93 7 83 17 .84
Metacommunication (n = 1,104) 98 2 97 3 94 6
Television News Broadcast 98 2 97 3 97 3
Web Coverage 92 2 97 3 94 6 .19


*Chi square = p < .05









Iraq Government Public Information Assessments

Research question 11 asked how were the Iraqi government's public information

efforts assessed in the media coverage of the war and if these assessments were

significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage.

Over half (73%) of the total stories did not discuss the Iraqi government public

information efforts; these stories were omitted from analysis for this question. The

remaining 442 stories were rated as positive, negative, or neutral in regard to their

coverage of the Iraqi government efforts. As Table 4-10 shows, the overall percentage of

these stories portrayed the Iraqi government information efforts as negative (63%), and

the remainder were categorized as 33% neutral and 4% positive.

However, again looking at Table 4.11, it is clear that there is a difference in how

the Iraqi government fared in the television versus Web media. While television gave the

Iraqi government efforts a negative evaluation in 61% of such stories, the Web registered

a negative evaluation in 66%. However, the Web coverage was more likely to be more

positive toward the Iraqi government information efforts, casting a negative view in 7%

of its stories with this frame, as compared to television coverage of only 2%.

Table 4-10. Iraqi Government Public Information Efforts

Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage Total
(n = 278) (n = 164) (n = 442)
Positive 2% 7% 4%
Negative 61 66 63
Neutral 37 27 33

XA= 11.51, df = 2,p <.05














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

This exploratory study sought to extend the metacommunication concept that has

been previously used almost exclusively for the analyses of political campaign coverage

to the media coverage of a war. The current study advanced the research in the area of

metacommunication not only by examining this communications practice in a different

context, but also by analyzing both televised news broadcasts and Web coverage which

have largely been overlooked in prior research in this area.

Findings and Implications

Chapter four's reporting of the results directly addressed each hypothesis and

research question. This chapter elaborates on these results categorically, through the use

of examples to illustrate the findings and to discuss the implications thereof.

Additionally, this chapter examines how these findings may be linked to the bigger

picture of the theoretical underpinnings and prior research that were detailed in chapter

two's review of the literature and to see how this study's findings build on an

understanding of these perspectives. Finally, limitations of this study are acknowledged

and goals for future research set.

Source Reliance

Despite the fact that overall both media relied on independent sources more than

media ones, it is important to note that the percentages do point to a substantial tendency

on the part of the media to rely on media sources. Whereas the numbers indicating

independent sources in the lead may be looked at as a somewhat encouraging finding in









terms of the role of the journalist, especially in terms of the key concept of independence

and objectivity, the extent to which the media sources are used is still a troubling finding

in both media channels examined in this study.

While the finding that out of the 3,875 sources relied on in the televised news

broadcasts during this study of the war coverage consisted of 2,084 (54%) independent

sources and 1,791 (46%) media sources might show statistical significance, it is still not

something that points to a lack of media narcissism or self-reflexivity. Reliance on such a

large number of media sources in the televised news broadcasts during Operation Iraqi

Freedom is a noteworthy finding that indicates that the TV news media do become

participants in the stories they are covering and to a rather alarming extent.

However, the finding that out of the 7,005 sources relied on in the Web coverage

during this study of the war coverage consisted of 5,100 (73%) independent sources

1,905 (37%) media sources is not only statistically significant, it is also something that

does point toward a decrease in the media's preoccupation with itself. The large amount

of independent sources, which is almost double the amount of media sources being relied

on in the Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is an important finding that indicates

that the Web as a media channel is less likely to insert media practitioners into the stories

they are reporting.

The difference between source reliance by media channel was not a comparison

that was an explicit goal of this study, as evidenced by the fact that the study

hypothesized that both televised news broadcasts and Web coverage would rely on media

sources to a greater degree than on independent sources. These assumptions were not

supported, and the differences in the source reliance by these two media channels is









important and deserves further analysis with the data collected for this study and in future

research efforts.

Episodic and Thematic Frames

The results regarding the presence of episodic and thematic frames and their

shifting over time from episodic frames being prevalent initially and thematic frames

becoming dominant over time was an assumption this study made based on prior

research. The results of this study indicate that this assumption was largely erroneous and

was a surprising finding.

The results of the comparison of the episodic and thematic frame prevalence over

the three time periods yielded drastically differing results than were expected. The sheer

volume and amount of difference in the percentages are staggering: with time one having

96.6% episodic frames and only a negligible 0.04% thematic frames; time two having

94.3% episodic frames and a slight increase to 5.7% thematic frames; and time three

having 91.1% episodic frames and another minimal increase to 9.09% thematic frames.

While the episodic frame slightly decreased during each time period and the thematic

frame rose minimally, these results are a paradoxical finding that bears further

exploration. However, one possible explanation of this finding is the fact that Web

coverage is closer to print coverage than televised news and that print sources possibly

tend to be more thematic than episodic.

The finding that the prevalence of episodic and thematic frames by media channel

indicated similar patterns of frame dominance across time in both the televised news

broadcasts and the Web coverage indicate that these results cannot be attributed to

channel variance. With the only one instance of a statistically significant difference (the

responsibility frame) reported during the all three time periods analyzed, these findings of









episodic frame dominance can be seen as overwhelmingly similar across both time and

media.

The implications of these findings of episodic prevalence and only a slight

thematic increase bear further scrutiny. While this was a short official war, the patterns of

coverage are so extremely variant that the compressed period of time overall and the

context seem like overly simplistic explanations for this finding. It is possible that the

reason for this outcome has to do more with changes in media coverage overall. Since the

media systems are far more complex and increasingly becoming more so, it is perhaps a

change in media coverage style in general that explains why the episodic to thematic

dominance over time was not supported in this study.

With so many media options available to the news consumer, media outlets may

be leaning to shorter, episodic coverage that focuses more on specific events and

individuals (which is more evocative and perhaps easily digested) instead of broader,

thematic coverage that focuses more on issues and implications (which is less sensational

and requires more processing) in attempts to keep the public's tuned in to their given

station or remaining on their given Web site. With the shorter sound bite and a generation

used to fast-paced MTV-style editing, and many Web users who can fairly be

characterized as having short attention spans to the point of being ADD, the media outlets

are well aware that keeping individuals engaged can often be accomplished by providing

more simplistic, dramatic, and event-driven news stories than complex, analytical, and

thoughtful ones. This finding is open to different interpretations, but it clearly deserves

more analysis with the coverage of this war and in other contexts, in order to continue to

test assumption that episodic frames will give way to thematic ones over time.









Frame Prevalence

In terms of establishing the prevalent frames in the media coverage of the war,

and if there were significant differences in the prevalence of these frames in war

coverage, the rank order of frame prevalence from highest to lowest were military

conflict, metacommunication, human interest, diagnostic, prognostic, rebuilding of Iraq,

protest, economic consequences, American patriotism, and responsibility. As reported

earlier, the patterns of prevalence for the two media channels compared in this study

follow closely in order but with slight deviations, but these differences were not

significant.

While the military conflict frame was the most prevalent frame overall and in

both the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage, the metacommunication frame

was the second-most prevalent frame overall and in both the media channels, with 63%

of the televised news broadcasts and 65% of the Web stories include some type of

metacommunication frame.

The sheer volume of metacommunication frame presence in both media channels

is a finding that is striking for several reasons. While military conflict was the most

prevalent frame, it was a frame that included a broad number of scenarios that dealt with

actual conflict and events in the war in general. The other eight frames ranged from very

specific, such as American patriotism, human interest, diagnostic, and prognostic to

broad, such as economic consequences, protest, responsibility, and rebuilding of Iraq.

The military conflict frame was present at 79% for televised news broadcasts and

at 78% for Web coverage followed by the metacommunication frame which was present

at 63% for televised news broadcasts and at 65% for Web coverage. These were the two

highest types of frames that were followed by human interest which was present at 43%









for televised news broadcasts and at 30% for Web coverage. The remaining frames were

present in both media channels from a high of 22% to a low of 4%.

The high level of metacommunication prevalence is a key finding of this study. It

indicates that other than broad military conflict information the media are indeed relying

on providing coverage that is self-reflexive and emphasizing the strategy/process nature

of the media and the public information efforts much more than they are the events,

issues, and people involved in the military conflict. It is also significant to note that the

level of metacommunication frame prevalence was extremely close in both the TV and

Web coverage, and this is not a finding that was limited to just one of the media channels.

Examples of episodic frames where abundant in stories from both media, and

certainly the use of embedded reporters during Operation Iraqi Freedom is a reason that

could have led to such coverage. From the Jessica Lynch rescue, to the toppling of the

Statue of Saddam Hussein, to the day-to-day activities of the U.S. military personnel, to

President Bush's parachute landing and official declaration of the end of the war,

embedded reporters were right there telling this unfolding story. This unprecedented

access given to the media created a situation in which reporters were not only more like

participants, the also became daily storytellers who would tend to focus on incidents and

events, rather than broader issues.

Additionally, the finding that the metacommunication frame remained the second

most prevalent frame during all three time periods, and there was not a statistically

significant difference in its prevalence between the media channels during time one, time

two, or time three further underscores the indication that metacommunication frames









have become a standby in media coverage, even from the onset to the resolution of a war

and at every stage of the conflict.

Metacommunication Frames

This study additionally sought to determine which types of metacommunication

frames were more prevalent: if there we more cases of self-reflexive metacommunication

or strategy/process frames present in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of

Operation Iraqi Freedom. The results of this indicate that the self-reflexive type of

metacommunication frame, in which media frequently insert themselves into the

coverage and evaluate their role in the news process was largely the dominant type of

metacommunication frame as compared to the strategy/process metacommunication

frame, in which the media often report on the interplay between public information

efforts and the resulting media coverage.

It is a significant finding that the self-reflexive metacommunication frame, which

is in many ways the epitome of media narcissism, is the dominant metacommunication

frame for both media channels. The self reflexive frame is often characterized by

coverage that is inane and vacuous as television news anchors, Web story authors, and

other media players chatter about their opinions and roles in the news, instead of actually

even conveying any substantive news at all. It is perhaps surprising that the

strategy/process frame was present at a statistically significantly lower amount for both

the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war. The strategy/process news

frame can often contain information that actually informs the news consumer about

events, even though it does commonly emphasize the negative relationship between

political public relations practitioners and the press in the news gathering and reporting

process.









Examples of stories that were coded as having the strategy/process frame varied

in content and in type of strategy/process category, but perhaps one of the most blatant of

such frames was the coverage of President Bush's landing on the USS Lincoln. All media

analyzed in this study covered that specific, orchestrated public-information event. Other

such coverage ranged from reporters commenting on rallies and how the administration

responded to them to the White House/Bush administration indicating frustration with the

UN weapons inspectors.

An interesting aspect of this finding is that prior literature in the area of political

communication has often shown the strategy/process frame to be the prevalent form of

metacommunication during election cycles. This exploratory study, however, found that

conversely, during a time of war-even a controversial war-that strategy/process took

second place to self-reflexivity. This finding helps advance understanding of

metacommunication frames in contexts other than political campaigns, and while this

should be explored in different contexts, this finding does indicate that the media's own

favorite subject is in fact itself and reinforces the idea of media bias towards the media as

the bias that one can expect to find in times of peace or conflict.

Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Frames

Another goal of this study was to assess what types of self-reflexive

metacommunication frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if

reliance on these types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames was significantly

different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Based on prior research, the eight types of self-reflexive metacommunication were coded

for.









Self-reflexive metacommunication frames were not similar between the media

channels and the reliance on these frames was significantly different in televised news

broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As reported earlier, an

interesting outlier in this finding was low prevalence of role of technology in attaining

coverage. This is of note, as prior war coverage scholarship conducted by Kaid, et al.

about the 1991 Gulf War and CNN's frequent mentions of its technology, which was a

breakthrough study in metacommunication research, though not explicitly labeled as such

at the time.

There are several other results in comparison of media channels and the analysis

of the self-reflexive metacommunication frame prevalence that deserve mention. For

example, the most dominant self-reflexive frame for the Web coverage was cross

promotion and cross referencing of the media, but this was a very low ranked item in the

televised news broadcasts. However, reporters reporting about journalists from their

organization or network came in first place for televised news broadcasts and second

place for Web coverage. The other items differed widely in rank order, but were not

largely different in the amounts of coverage per item.

Examples of reporters interviewing embedded reporters in the field were

frequently occurring types of self-reflexive coverage and a mainstay of the electronic war

coverage analyzed in this study. Additionally, the televised broadcasts frequently

included anchors and/or media personalities discussing their own opinions about the war,

which ranged from commenting on protests to foreign policy to the future of Iraq. In

addition to interviewing media celebrities and personalities within their own news

organizations, the media also frequently interviewed media sources from other news









organizations about both specific incidents and implications of the war. Again, this is not

largely surprising, as certain major media outlets had access to more data and the actual

troops, and the media sources offered perspectives that were not available through other

independent sources that were not on the front line.

The finding that cross promotion and cross referencing of the media was much

higher in the Web coverage than TV news could be attributed to the structural differences

between these media channels. Since the televised news broadcasts are highly structured

in format and time constraints, as compared to the Web coverage that offer a practically

infinite news hole and more coverage possibilities. Another items however, that is

difficult to find explanations for its differences by media channel is the frame of reporters

discussing their personal experiences of covering the war is more prevalent in TV than

Web coverage, but it is unclear why this would be so.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames

Another goal of this study was to assess what types of strategy/process

metacommunication frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if

reliance on these types of strategy/process metacommunication frames was significantly

different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Based on prior research, the eight types of strategy/process metacommunication were

coded for.

Overall, the strategy/process metacommunication frames were not highly

correlated between the media channels and the reliance on these frames was significantly

different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

However there are two exceptions: both the White House/Bush administration

information strategy and Military officials/troops information strategy were ranked as the









top two most prevalent frames for the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage

the war. These were the only two strategy/process metacommunication frames that were

correlated.

There are several other results in comparison of media channels and the analysis

of the strategy/process metacommunication frame prevalence that deserve mention. For

example, the presence of the Bush administration and news media relationships and

interactions frame was present twice as much in the Web coverage as compared to the

TV news. While the results of this can be attributed to reasons discussed earlier about the

channel differences, which could be one possible explanation for this and other

differences, that is an almost counter intuitive finding and one that seems at odds with the

results from prior research in the context of political campaigns. Once could actually

have predicted the opposite would have been the case, that the Bush administration and

news media relationships and interactions would have played out to a greater degree in

the televised news broadcasts than in the stories about the war in the Web coverage.

Another perplexing finding is that of the standards of the quality of the news

coverage frame, which was present six times more in the televised news broadcasts than

in the Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Given the time and structural

constraints of the TV coverage as compared with the Web's, this finding is difficult to

explain, as it is the exact opposite of what would have been expected. However, a

possible explanation for this finding is that this one strategy/process frame is very closely

associated with some of the self-reflexive types of coverage, and while this frame does

assess the quality and standards of the news coverage, the substantive nature of such

assessments is not evaluated in this study, and these frames can include incidents when









anchors or reporters are discussing live and on the air the issues they are facing when

trying to bring the viewer accurate and up-to-date information.

For example, it was common in the televised news broadcasts for anchors or

reporters to allude to domestic and international coverage while reporting the day's

events. Such media-assessment coverage included commenting on coverage from the

controversial AI Jazeera to the traditional news sources, such as the BBC. Often televised

media was self-referential, its anchors and reporters filled the news hole with chatter

about themselves and their own network's quality of news gathering and dissemination

during a time of war.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Categories

Another layer to the analysis of the strategy/process metacommunication frames

for this study was to categorize the presence of each type as being adversarial,

educational, or neutral and to compare these findings by media channel. The results of

this specific inquiry are central to the implications of this study of metacommunication

prevalence in the media coverage of the war.

Overall, the educational category was most prevalent, the neutral second, and the

adversarial the least. This is a somewhat promising finding, and one that differs from a

number of the prior studies in political campaigns when these categories were evaluated.

For the televised broadcasts, the neutral category was most prevalent, the

educational second, and the adversarial the least. In terms of Web coverage, the

educational category was most prevalent, the neutral second, and the adversarial the least.

The most typical example of such neutral coverage, for both media, was straight-

forward and informative reporting of U.S. public information efforts, such as the release

of reports, interviews, and press conferences. The negative coverage, which was the least









offered of the these assessment categories tended to be humorous and critical of the Iraqi

information officer referred to as "Baghdad Bob" and his denial of the serious nature of

the U.S. assault on Iraq. The educational coverage tended to focus on U.S. public

information efforts and to be objective and very direct in explaining how the government

agencies and/or the White House gathered and released its data to both the media and the

public.

It is encouraging that the educational category of the strategy/process

metacommunication frame emerged as a prevalent frame and the adversarial category

was the least, both overall and by media channel. This implies that the strategy/process

metacommunication frame can potentially be beneficial and enhance the news consumer

and possible contribute to the public sphere (Habermas 1962/1989).

In terms of channel comparisons, it is also worth noting that while the adversarial

category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was least present in both

media, it was only four percent less prevalent than the educational category in the TV

news, as compared to the Web coverage in which the adversarial category was 28 percent

less prevalent than the educational category. Also, in comparing the amount of

educational strategy/process metacommunication category presence between these two

media channels it is significant that this category was much more prevalent in the Web

coverage (56%) as compared with the (30%) prevalence in the televised news broadcasts.

These findings are congruent with prior scholarship that indicates the Web may be a

medium that is able to enhance the public sphere than other media; in terms of the range

of voices and variety of sources it offers (Strommer-Galley, 2002; Williams & Martin,

2004).









Public Information Assessment

The study also sought to evaluate directly how the media were assessing the

public information efforts of both the Bush administration and the Iraqi government. Not

surprisingly, the findings indicate that the Bush administration's efforts were rated far

more favorably than the Iraqi government's. It is interesting however that the Bush

administration's communication efforts were mostly rated as neutral, as were a limited

number of the Iraqi government's efforts.

These findings, perhaps more than any of the others, can be attributed to the

context of the media coverage. Unlike a political campaign, when one would expect more

negative assessments, the context of this particular military campaign and its associations

with the larger War on Terror that President Bush declared after the September 11

terrorist attacks would create an environment when being overly critical could be viewed

as unpatriotic. In fact, prior research on this war has indicated that media personalities

had to walk a fine line in critiquing the president or the military efforts, and that those

who spoke out faced harsh censure (Williams, Martin, Trammell, Landreville, & Ellis,

2004).

Limitations

As with any study there are limitations, and the current study has several. By its

very nature, this exploratory analysis that attempts to explicate the metacommunication

concept and examine media narcissism and self-reflexivity in a war instead of a political

campaign meant that prior assumptions and findings could only be considered

benchmarks for assessments and not strict guidelines as the contextual issues were so

great.









This study is also limited in that it only analyzes two media: the Web and TV news.

Additionally, visuals for both of these media were not coded and analyzed, and only the

textual, verbal content was addressed.

Future Research

There are multiple directions in which this current study can lead, and as an

exploratory analysis of metacommunication in a context other than a political campaign,

this study will prove to be a springboard for a number of other studies. These studies will

begin with the existing data that have been collected.

Future work with these data will include conducting comparative analyses within

the media channels compared here. For example, it ma be a worthwhile to further break

out the data and see if there are statistically significant differences between the traditional

and cable televised news broadcasts and similarly if there are differences between their

coverage on their respective Web sites.

Additional work with the existing data collected during Operation Iraqi Freedom

include examining which sources were most frequently associated with given frames to

see what patterns emerge, and to examine if and how these patterns are related to the

media channels, the time periods, and the episodic and/or thematic frame

characterizations, as well as other categories and subcategories of metacommunication

frames.

Beyond the work with the existing data, research on metacommunication should be

extended to other types of media coverage. Such coverage can include the terror alerts

that have been put in place over the past few years in the United States, coverage of

religious/political issues, coverage of international crisis events such as the recent

bombings in Spain, and coverage of political scandals.









The opportunities to address metacommunication, media narcissism, and self-

reflexive reporting are seemingly myriad, not only in terms of differing contexts but also

in differing media outlets and areas of the world. Also, after considerably more work has

been done with content analysis, experimental studies to measure the effects of

metacommunication on respondents will provide further chances to advance

understanding of this media practice.

The findings of this study are, overall, troublesome and especially so in regard to

journalistic objectivity. As the public does indeed rely on the media for factual

information on a regular basis, the need for facts from the media during a time of crisis,

such as war or terrorist attacks is paramount. The media have rights and responsibilities

to the public are more vital than narcissistic and self-reflexive. The issues and events are

much more important to the public than being educated about the news gathering process,

and the relationship, and assessments thereof, between the media and political public

relations consultants and/or public information officers is not one that serves the public

interest. The media have been given a great deal of latitude and protection, and it is the

media's duty to live up to these.














APPENDIX A
CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS

Coder ID: Coders will input their three initials for identification purposes.

Story Number: Each story will be given a unique four-digit number.

Story Date: The date on which the story ran.

Story Headline or Title: For TV News Stories, coders will indicate if there is a stated

headline or title for the news segment or will give the story a title for the purpose of

further referencing and locating the story.

Type of Story:

(1) TV News Broadcast

TV News Story Origin:

(1) ABC
(2) CBS
(3) CNN
(4) FOX

TV News Story Source(s): Coders are asked to identify the presence or absence of a

number of sources from a predetermined listed based on prior research: (1) Story's

Author; (2) Reporter; (3) Anonymous; (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group; (5) Military

Expert; (6) Republican Political Pundit; (7) Democratic Political Pundit; (8) Non-Partisan

Political Pundit; (7) Media Personality from Same Network; (8) Media Personality from

Other Organization; (9) Scholar/Media Critic; (10) Embedded Journalist; (11) Associated

Press or other Wire Service; (12) Citizens; (13) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors;









(14) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson; (15) Report/Document/Poling Data; (16)

U.S. Military Officials-including any branch of the armed services; (17) Iraqi

Dissidents; and (18) Other. If "other" and identifying this source in an open-ended area

on the codesheet.

TV News Story Length (Minutes and Seconds): For TV coverage a story is marked by

a distinct beginning and ending of a central topic area (i.e., public information, White

House communications strategy, Removal of Saddam/Regime change, etc.). A story may

contain numerous sources and information related to the central topic, and until there is a

distinct shift in topic area, the coders will consider a unit of time devoted to one central

topic a single story. In order to determine this, coders will watch videotaped TV news

coverage, identify the beginning and ending of a story, watch it again and time it using a

stop watch to determine the length of the story. The coders will then watch the story for a

third time in order to focus on the manifest verbal content of the story before coding it.

Total Speakers/Sources Relied on for the Story: Coders will write in the total number

of sources relied on for the story based on a total the above coded categories. This

number should equal the totaled speakers/sources noted in the previous question.

Number of Independent and Media Sources: Coders are then asked to determine the

number of Independent and Media Sources relied on in the story. An independent source

is an individual or group that is not clearly identified as being a part of the media. A

media source is identified as an individual or group that is clearly a member of the media.

Anchor Direction of Content: For TV News Stories with an Anchor present, who does

the Anchor Direct the Viewer To?









Media Cross Promotion: Do the TV News Stores direct viewers to their Web sites or

other media coverage? If yes, coders will indicate where viewers are being directed.

Frames: Coders are asked to determine the presence or absence of the following list of

frames, based on prior research, and to indicate if this frame is best characterized as being

episodic or thematic. Additionally, coders are asked to indicate which of the sources from

the above list discussed the content associated with these frames by writing the

identification number of the sources) in the space provided. The list of frames coded for

are: The list of frames coded for are: (1) Military Conflict-frames that emphasize the

military battle itself on macro or micro levels; (2) American Patriotism-frames that

emphasize citizens rallying around the flag and a resurgence of American patriotism in

various manifestations; (3) Protest-frames that show individuals our groups, in the U.S.

or abroad protesting or the discussion of protest of the war; (4) Human Interest-frames

that emphasize the human element of the war, including soldiers and any citizens; (5)

Responsibility-frames that assign responsibility for the military conflict to a given

individual, government, or regime; (6) Economic Consequences-frames that focus on

the either short or long-term economic consequences that the war will have domestically,

in the Middle East, or internationally; (7) Diagnostic-frames that emphasize an

assessment of how and why this military conflict developed; (8) Prognostic-frames that

emphasize what outcome of the military conflict will be, including the removal of

Saddam/regime change, regional stability, loss of U.S. soldiers, etc.; (9) Rebuilding of

Iraq-frames that specifically deal with the rebuilding of Iraqi and the future of the

country and its people after the war is finished; and (10) Metacommunication-a frame

that emphasizes either the media's self-reflexivity or the communication process between









sources and the news media. (In addition to listing the source of the metacommunication,

coders are also asked to indicate the subject of the metacommunication, e.g., the Bush

Administration.)

Metacommunication Frame Presence: If the metacommunication frame is present,

coders are instructed to indicate which of the above frames areas the metacommunication

directly relate to by filling in the identification number of the frame(s) in the space

provided.

Metacommunication Frames: The dissertation is designed to determine the extent to

which metacommunication frames were relied upon by the media during the reporting of

a military campaign. For purposes of this dissertation, metacommunication is defined as

the news media's self-reflexive coverage of itself in a general sense and of the interplay

between the Bush administration's or Iraqi government's public information about

Operation Iraqi Freedom and the TV News and Web sites' resulting coverage.

Metacommunication Frame Type: The concept of metacommunication is further is

broken down into two distinct areas: self-reflexive reporting and strategy/process news.

For purposes of this dissertation the two differing types of metacommunication will be

treated as mutually exclusive categories stories will be coded as being characterized

either one or the other type of metacommunication, not both. If the metacommunication

frame is coded as being present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes

the type of metacommunication present: (1) Self Reflexive or (2) Strategy/Process.

Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If the Self Reflexive

Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best

characterizes it: (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage; (2) Anchors or Media









Personalities Discussing their Opinions; (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of

Covering the War; (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from

their News Organization, Network, or Publication; (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting

about other Journalists from another News Organization, Network, or Publications;

(6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event; (7) Cross

Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media; or (8) Insider Views of the War or War

Strategizing.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If, Strategy/Process

Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best

characterizes it: (1) Pentagon Information Strategy; (2) White House/Bush

Administration Information Strategy; (3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy;

(4) Partisan Information Source Strategy; (5) Bush Administration-News Media

Relationship and/or Interactions; (6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press

Briefings; (7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage; and (8) Influence of

PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Classification: If, Strategy/Process

Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best

characterizes it: (1) Adversarial; (2) Educational; or (3) Neutral.. Adversarial types of

strategy/process frames would include stories that negative label that implies

manipulation or the use of ploys in the communication process as spin or call source

information a sound bite. The neutral type of strategy/process frame is one in which there

is no negative or positive slant to the communication process but instead just states the

occurrence of a transferal of information from source to the media. The educational type









of strategy/process frame is one in which the viewer would actually learn something

about the communication process between the source and the media but is without any

negative connotations and is, instead, unbiased and is clearly informative about the

process.

Assessment of the Bush Administration's Public Information Efforts: Coders will

indicate the Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administration's Public

Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4)

Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that

are used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended

information in the space provided.

Assessment of the Iraqi government's Administration's Public Information

Efforts: Coders will indicate the Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi

government's Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2)

Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key

words, terms, or phrases that are used to describe the administration and its

communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided.














APPENDIX B
CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE

Coder ID: Coders will input their three initials for identification purposes.

Story Number: Coders will give each story will be a unique four-digit number.

Story Date: Coders will indicate the original date on which the story ran using a

six-digit number (e.g., 040203 for April, 2, 2003)

Story Headline: Coders will either write the exact headline that was associated

with each story.

Type of Story:

(2) Web Coverage

Web site News Story Origin:

(1) ABC

(2) CBS

(3) CNN

(4) FOX

Web News Story Length: Coders will list the length of the story based on a word

count, including the headline and sub-head.

Web site Story Source Attribution: Coders are asked to identify the presence or

absence of a number of sources from a predetermined listed based on prior research: (1)

Story's Author; (2) Reporter; (3) Anonymous; (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group; (5)

Military Expert-not current personnel; (6) Republican Political Pundit; (7) Democratic

Political Pundit; (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit; (7) Media Personality from Same









Network; (8) Media Personality from Other Organization; (9) Scholar/Media Critic; (10)

Embedded Journalist; (11) Associated Press or other Wire Service; (12) Citizens; (13)

Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors; (14) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson;

(15) Report/Document/Poling Data; (16) U.S. Military Officials-including any branch

of the armed services; (17) Iraqi Dissidents; and (18) Other. If "other" and identifying

this source in an open-ended area on the codesheet.

Total Sources Relied on for the Story: Coders will write in the total number of

sources relied on for the story based on a total the above coded categories. This number

should equal the totaled sources noted in the previous question.

Hyperlinks: Coders will indicate how many subject hyperlinks that relate to

Operation Iraqi freedom are present.

Internal Hyperlinks: Coders will indicate how many of these are subject

hyperlinks are internal hyperlinks that keep the user within the site.

External Hyperlinks: Coders will indicate how many of these are subject

hyperlinks are external hyperlinks that send the user outside the site.

External Hyperlink Destinations: The URLs for the external subject hyperlinks

will be noted in order to determine where the site sending the user.

Frames: Coders are asked to determine the presence or absence of the following

list of frames, based on prior research, and to indicate if this frame is best characterized

as being episodic or thematic. Additionally, coders are asked to indicate which of the

sources from the above list discussed the content associated with these frames by writing

the identification number of the sources) in the space provided. The list of frames coded

for are: (1) Military Conflict-frames that emphasize the military battle itself on macro









or micro levels; (2) American Patriotism-frames that emphasize citizens rallying around

the flag and a resurgence of American patriotism in various manifestations; (3) Protest-

frames that show individuals our groups, in the U.S. or abroad protesting or the

discussion of protest of the war; (4) Human Interest-frames that emphasize the human

element of the war, including soldiers and any citizens; (5) Responsibility-frames that

assign responsibility for the military conflict to a given individual, government, or

regime; (6) Economic Consequences-frames that focus on the either short or long-term

economic consequences that the war will have domestically, in the Middle East, or

internationally; (7) Diagnostic-frames that emphasize an assessment of how and why

this military conflict developed; (8) Prognostic-frames that emphasize what outcome of

the military conflict will be, including the removal of Saddam/regime change, regional

stability, loss of U.S. soldiers, etc.; (9) Rebuilding of Iraq-frames that specifically deal

with the rebuilding of Iraqi and the future of the country and its people after the war is

finished; and (10) Metacommunication-a frame that emphasizes either the media's self-

reflexivity or the communication process between sources and the news media (In

addition to listing the source of the metacommunication, coders are also asked to indicate

the subject of the metacommunication, e.g., the Bush Administration.)

Metacommunication Frame Presence: If the metacommunication frame is

present, coders are instructed to indicate which of the above frames areas the

metacommunication directly relate to by filling in the identification number of the

frame(s) in the space provided.

Metacommunication Frames: The dissertation is designed to determine the extent

to which metacommunication frames were relied upon by the media during the reporting









of a military campaign. For purposes of this dissertation, metacommunication is defined

as the news media's self-reflexive coverage of itself in a general sense and of the

interplay between the Bush administration's or Iraqi government's public information

about Operation Iraqi Freedom and the TV News and Web sites' resulting coverage.

Metacommunication Frame Type: The concept of metacommunication is further

is broken down into two distinct areas: self-reflexive reporting and strategy/process news.

For purposes of this dissertation the two differing types of metacommunication will be

treated as mutually exclusive categories stories will be coded as being characterized

either one or the other type of metacommunication, not both. If the metacommunication

frame is coded as being present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes

the type of metacommunication present: (1) Self Reflexive or (2) Strategy/Process.

Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If the Self

Reflexive Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best

characterizes it: (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage; (2) Anchors or Media

Personalities Discussing their Opinions; (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of

Covering the War; (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from

their News Organization, Network, or Publication; (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting

about other Journalists from another News Organization, Network, or Publications;

(6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event; (7)

Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media; or (8) Insider Views of the War or

War Strategizing.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If,

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the









following best characterizes it: (1) Pentagon Information Strategy; (2) White House/Bush

Administration Information Strategy; (3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy;

(4) Partisan Information Source Strategy; (5) Bush Administration-News Media

Relationship and/or Interactions; (6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press

Briefings; (7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage; and (8) Influence of

PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists.

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Classification: If,

Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the

following best characterizes it: (1) Adversarial; (2) Educational; or (3) Neutral. Types of

strategy/process metacommunication news frames: This dissertation will additionally

evaluate strategy/process news on another sub-level distinction-this characterization is

either adversarial or educational strategy/process news. Adversarial types of

strategy/process frames would include stories that negative label that implies

manipulation or the use of ploys in the communication process as spin or call source

information a sound bite. The neutral type of strategy/process frame is one in which there

is no negative or positive slant to the communication process but instead just states the

occurrence of a transferal of information from source to the media. The educational type

of strategy/process frame is one in which the viewer would actually learn something

about the communication process between the source and the media but is without any

negative connotations and is, instead, unbiased and is clearly informative about the

process.

Assessment of the Bush Administration's Public Information Efforts: Coders

will indicate the Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administration's Public









Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4)

Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that

are used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended

information in the space provided.

Assessment of the Iraqi government's Administration's Public Information

Efforts: Coders will indicate the Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi

government's Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2)

Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key

words, terms, or phrases that are used to describe the administration and its

communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided.














APPENDIX C
CODESHEET OF CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS

Coder:

Story Number


(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)


Story Date:


Story Headline or Title:

Type of Story:
(1) TV News Broadcast


TV News Story/Segment Origin:
(1) ABC
(2) CBS
(3) CNN
(4) FOX


(Reliability 1.00)


TV News Story Length (Minutes and Seconds)

TV News Story Speaker(s)/Source(s):
(1) Anchor Present (1) A
(2) Reporter Present (1) A
(3) Anonymous Present (1) A
(4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group Present (1) A
(5) Military Expert (Not Current Personnel) Present (1) A
(6) Republican Political Pundit Present (1) A
(7) Democratic Political Pundit Present (1) A
(8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit Present (1) A
(9) Media Personality from Same Network Present (1) A
(10) Media Personality from Other Organization Present (1) A
(11) Scholar/Media Critic Present (1) A
(12) Embedded Journalist Present (1) A
(13) Associated Press or other Wire Service Present (1) A
(14) Citizens Present (1) A
(15) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors Present (1) A
(16) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson Present (1) A
(17) Report/Document/Poling Data Present (1) A
(18) U.S. Military Official(s) Present (1) A
(19) Iraqi Dissidents Present (1) A
(20) Other Present (1) A

If other, what individuals) or groups) were relied on as a source?


(Reliability .75)


bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability .75)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)









How Many Total Speakers/Sources Were Relied on for the Story?


How many of these are Independent Sources?

How many of these are Media Sources?


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)


For TV News Stories with an Anchor present, who does the Anchor Direct the Viewer To?
(Reliability 1.00)

Do the TV News Stores direct viewers to their Web sites or other media coverage?
(Reliability 1.00)


If yes, where?


Frames:
(1) Military Conflict Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability .75)
(2) American Patriotism Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(3) Protest Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(4) Human Interest Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability .75)
(5) Responsibility Frame Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(6) Economic Consequences Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(7) Diagnostic Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(8) Prognostic Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(9) Rebuilding of Iraq Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(10) Metacommunication Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
Subject(s): (Reliability .75)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


(Reliability 1.00)

Episodic or Thematic
(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


If Metacommunication frame is present, which of the above frames areas does the
metacommunication directly relate to? (Reliability 1.00)









If the Metacommunication Frame is Present, which one of the following best characterizes it?
(1) Self Reflexive
(2) Strategy/Process (Reliability 1.00)

If Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best
characterizes it?
(1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage
(2) Anchors or Media Personalities Discussing their Opinions
(3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War
(4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News
Organization, Network, or Publication
(5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from another News
Organization, Network, or Publications
(6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event
(7) Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media
(8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing (Reliability 1.00)

If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best
characterizes it?
(1) Pentagon Information Strategy
(2) White House/Bush Administration Information Strategy
(3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy
(4) Partisan Information Source Strategy
(5) Bush Administration-News Media Relationship and/or Interactions
(6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press Briefings
(7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage
(8) Influence of PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists (Reliability .75)

If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best
characterizes it?
(1) Adversarial
(2) Educational
(3) Neutral (Reliability .75)

Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administration's Public Information Efforts:
(1) Positive
(2) Negative
(3) Neutral
(4) Not Applicable (Reliability .75)

Key words, terms, or phrases used to describe these public information efforts: (Reliability 1.00)

Story's Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi government's Public Information Efforts:
(1) Positive
(2) Negative
(3) Neutral (Reliability 1.00)
(4) Not Applicable

Key words, terms, or phrases used to describe these public information efforts: (Reliability 1.00)














APPENDIX D
CODESHEET FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE

Coder:

Story Number

Story Date: (Reliability 1.00)


Story Headline or Title:

Type of Story:
(2) Web Coverage

Web News Story Origin:
(1) ABC
(2) CBS
(3) CNN
(4) FOX


Web News Story Length: (Word Count)

Source Attribution:
(1) Story Author Present (1) A
(2) Reporter Present (1) A
(3) Anonymous Present (1) A
(4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group Present (1) A
(5) Military Expert (Not Current Personnel) Present (1) A
(6) Republican Political Pundit Present (1) A
(7) Democratic Political Pundit Present (1) A
(8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit Present (1) A
(9) Media Personality from Same Network Present (1) A
(10) Media Personality from Other Organization Present (1) A
(11) Scholar/Media Critic Present (1) A
(12) Embedded Journalist Present (1) A
(13) Associated Press or other Wire Service Present (1) A
(14) Citizens Present (1) A
(15) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors Present (1) A
(16) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson Present (1) A
(17) Report/Document/Poling Data Present (1) A
(18) U.S. Military Official(s) Present (1) A
(19) Iraqi Dissidents Present (1) A
(20) Other Present (1) A

If other, what individuals) or groups) were relied on as a source?


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)


bsent (0) (Reliability .75)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)
bsent (0) (Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)









How Many Total Sources Were Relied on for the Story?

How many of these are Independent Sources?


How many of these are Media Sources?

How many subject hyperlinks are present?

How many of these are internal hyperlinks?


How many of these are external?


If external, where are they sending the user?

Frames:
(1) Military Conflict Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(2) American Patriotism Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(3) Protest Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(4) Human Interest Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(5) Responsibility Frame Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(6) Economic Consequences Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(7) Diagnostic Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(8) Prognostic Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(9) Rebuilding of Iraq Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
(10) Metacommunication Present (1)
(Reliability 1.00)
Source(s): (Reliability 1.00)
Subject(s): (Reliability 1.00)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


Absent (0)


(Reliability .75)

(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)

(Reliability 1.00)

Episodic or Thematic
(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


(Reliability 1.00)


If Metacommunication frame is present, which of the above frames areas does the
metacommunication directly relate to? (Reliability 1.00)

If Metacommunication Frame is Present, which one of the following best characterizes it?




Full Text

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MEDIA NARCISSISM AND SELF-R EFLEXIVE REPORTING: METACOMMUNICATION IN TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS AND WEB COVERAGE OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM By ANDREW PAUL WILLIAMS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Andrew Paul Williams

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This dissertation is dedicated to my parents. I owe a great deal of gr atitude to my mother, Lois Virginia Strickland Williams, who has been extremely supportive and actively involved in helping me pursue my graduate e ducation. Equally important is the vital role my father, the late Reverend Grady H. Williams Sr. had in encouraging me to continue my formal education. I am thankful to these ro le models and friends for instilling in me a quest for knowledge, a desire for civic e ngagement, and sense of humor. They both encouraged me to view my life as a journey to be enjoyed, instead of just focusing on specific destinations and accomplishments. I am thankful for their generosity, their kindness, and their leadership, and perhaps mo st importantly, their helping me gain a feeling of resilience by deve loping in me an appreciation for the absurd, which has proved quite essential, es pecially at times when things in life have seemed dire. For all of this, and much more, I am grateful.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am very fortunate to have benefited from the mentorship of Dr. Lynda Lee Kaid. From my first contact with her, Dr. Kaid treated me with respect and encouraged a collaborative research relationship which over the past three years has developed into a close personal friendship as well. Dr. Kaid has helped me to develop a programmatic approach to my research, while at the same time encouraged me to explore new ideas that will serve to advance my own personal development and to contribute to the mass communication discipline. As an eminent scholar who has been at the helm of political communication scholarship for a little over three decades, this research luminary has never ceased to amaze me with her kindness, her respect for differing points of view, and her quest for advancing knowledge. Words cannot express the gratitude and admiration I have for this great scholar and teacher. Dr. Kaid leads by example and is so inclusive and generous to a point that is almost beyond belief. It is also with much appreciation that I thank Dr. Spiro K. Kiousis. I had the privilege of taking Dr. Kiousis graduate mass communications theory class and also developing an ongoing research and professional friendship with him. He is a top-rate scholar and rising star in the discipline of political communication whose collegiality and willingness to offer guidance is always above and beyond the call of duty. Also noteworthy is the interest that Dr. Justin Brown took in me as I constantly ran research ideas and questions about scholarship by him. Dr. Brown helped to encourage, iv

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guide, and inform my research as I sought ways to address my many issues and concerns about the mass media. Another stalwart supporter who never tired of my almost endless questions and need for guidance is Dr. David M. Hedge. Dr. Hedge met with me frequently to address how I could merge my research in mass and political communication with the developing scholarship in the field of political science and to stay focused in my efforts. His patience and own intellectual curiosity have helped to send me in new directions with my research projects. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the friendship, guidance, and support that Dr. Bernell E. Tripp has offered me over the last three and one-half years. At a time when I was very uncertain about my abilities, Dr. Tripp counseled, directed, and protected me. Without her help as a teacher and confidant, I would not have been able to have endured my first semester in this graduate program. Dr. Tripp was also selfless in her expectations of me and most supportive of my choice to focus on quantitative research in the area of political communication instead of historical media research which is her expertise. Last, but not least, Jody Hedge was the very first person I spoke with when I was considering applying to this graduate program, and since that first conversation, she is still the first person I turn to for help on matters of not only proper policies and procedures, but also for personal and professional guidance. Jody has been the stabilizing force in the graduate division of the College of Journalism and Communications on whom I and countless other students rely when we feel there is nowhere else to turn. And she never fails any of us, which is quite a feat, as there is almost always a rather long line v

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of students in need of her help. Jody has become a dependable friend to me, and I could never have made it through this experience without her. These are the primary people who have helped me through the hazing ritual of the doctoral program, but there are many others who helped along the way. For all of you who helped me on this arduous journey, you know who you are, and how much I am grateful for contributing to an experience that was both the best and worst of times. vi

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................ix ABSTRACT.........................................................................................................................x CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..............................................................................3 Role of the Journalist....................................................................................................3 Gatekeeping Theory......................................................................................................5 War Coverage.............................................................................................................10 The Web as a News Source........................................................................................14 Framing.......................................................................................................................16 Metacommunication...................................................................................................19 Hypotheses and Research Questions..........................................................................28 3 METHODS.................................................................................................................31 Sample........................................................................................................................31 Categories and Definitions.........................................................................................33 Public Information Efforts..........................................................................................38 Coding Process...........................................................................................................39 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................41 Analysis of News Stories............................................................................................41 Televised News Broadcast Source Reliance...............................................................41 Web Coverage Source Reliance.................................................................................42 Episodic and Thematic Frame Prevalence..................................................................42 Frame Prevalence........................................................................................................43 Metacommunication Frame Prevalence.....................................................................45 Frame Prevalence over Time......................................................................................45 Metacommunication Frame Prevalence over Time....................................................47 Types of Metacommunication Frames.......................................................................47 vii

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Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Frames..............................................................49 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames...........................................................50 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories..........................................51 Episodic and Thematic Frame Media Comparisons...................................................52 Bush Administration Public Information Assessments..............................................54 Iraq Government Public Information Assessments....................................................56 5 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................57 Findings and Implications...........................................................................................57 Source Reliance...................................................................................................57 Episodic and Thematic Frames...........................................................................59 Frame Prevalence................................................................................................61 Metacommunication Frames......................................................................................63 Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Frames..............................................................64 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames...........................................................66 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Categories.....................................................68 Public Information Assessment..................................................................................70 Limitations...........................................................................................................70 Future Research...................................................................................................71 APPENDIX A CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS..........................................................................................................73 B CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE......................79 C CODESHEET OF CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS..........................................................................................................85 D CODESHEET FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE.....................88 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................91 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................105 viii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time................................44 4-2 Frame Prevalence in Stories by Media Channel......................................................45 4-3 Self-Reflexive and Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames by Media.........47 4-4 Frames Relied on in Stories Covering Operation Iraqi Freedom across Three Periods of Time and by Media Channel...................................................................48 4-5 Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Types by Media Channel...............................49 4-6 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Types by Media Channel............................51 4-7 Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories by Media........................53 4-8 Bush Administration Public Information Efforts.....................................................54 4-9 Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time and by Media Channel.....................................................................................................................55 4-10 Iraqi Government Public Information Efforts..........................................................56 ix

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy MEDIA NARCISSISM AND SELF-REFLEXIVE REPORTING: METACOMMUNICATION IN TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS AND WEB COVERAGE OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM By Andrew Paul Williams August 2004 Chair: Lynda Lee Kaid Major Department: Journalism and Communications This study examined the prevalence of metacommunication in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior scholarship on metacommunication, media narcissism, and self-reflexive reporting has primarily been conducted in analyzing the news coverage of political campaigns, through the content analysis of televised and print media. This study was a quantitative content analysis that explicated the metacommunication concept by applying it to a military conflict and comparing two electronic media channels. Building on the prior established metacommunication frames that examined the extent and type of self-reflexive media coverage and the medias evaluation of the strategy/process of public information efforts, the current studys findings indicated that metacommunication was a prevalent news frame in the coverage of the U.S. war with Iraq in 2003. Of the two types of metacommunication frames that were examined in this x

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study, findings indicate that the self-reflexive frame was relied on more frequently than the strategy/process frame. xi

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION It is a given fact in todays highly mediated society that the public turns to the news mediaprint, radio, TV, and Internetfor vital information, especially pertaining to matters of national import, such as politics and homeland security. It is perhaps in no other arena than the political one in a democratic society, where according to classic democratic theories (Berelson, 1966), citizens rely on accuracy of information in order to govern themselves. The mass media play a vital role in keeping the public up-to-date on the facts about political figures, issues, and events. However, a review of literature from the discipline of political communication over the last four decades indicates that a number of scholars have identified five areas of concern regarding troubling problems with the medias providing sufficient objective information to the public: an emphasis on sensationalism and focus on clash; the shrinking soundbite; an emphasis on image over issues; an emphasis on horserace coverage in campaigns; and a focus on the negative. This dissertation seeks to focus on a fifth emerging area of concern: media narcissism and metacommunication. This dissertation largely builds on the research of Esser and DAngelo (2003, 2002) who view metacommunication to be a byproduct of an adversarial relationship between professional political public relations strategists and the media. Esser and DAngelos work has been greatly influenced by that of Kerbel (1995, 1997, 1998, & 2000) and Kerbel, Apee, and Ross (2000) who have identified the self-reflexive nature of media coverage, in which journalist have become apt to insert 1

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2 themselves into the stories on which they are reporting as problematic trend. The metacommunication concept has previously been limited to political campaigns. The purpose of this exploratory study is to advance the research on the electronic medias coverage of war, the framing thereof, and to examine the role metacommunication played in this reporting. Prior research has applied the theory of metacommunication almost exclusively to political campaign coverage, and this dissertation will explicate the metacommunication concept by applying it to a military operation. Additionally, this dissertation adds to the prior research on metacommunication in electronic news coverage, which has previously been limited to television news by adding Web coverage of the war to the analysis. 2

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CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This dissertation seeks to examine how the media covered the 2003 U.S. war with Iraq. A number of prior studies that explored assumptions and theoretical underpinnings of what the role of the media in a democratic society should be were drawn upon in this analysis of media coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the goal of advancing knowledge of how the media function during a time of crisis. Role of the Journalist The notion that the media have become increasingly self-reflexive or narcissistic in their coverage of politics, major public events, and even war has received serious attention and debate over the last few decades about just what the role of the journalist is in society as compared to what this role should be. Theoretically, such concerns of media self-reflexivity or metacommunication have been grounded in perspectives such as framing or second-level (attribute) agenda setting. This research attempts to examine expectations of established journalistic norms and practices and attempts to address key concerns based on these given expectations. A foundation for this exploration of media responsibility is the notion of classic democratic theories (Berelson, 1966). This perspective asserts that it is essential in a democratic society that citizens have access to information in order to make informed decisions that enable self-governance. Historically, in late 18th-century England, Edmund Burke is credited with labeling the media as the Fourth Estate. This concept was based on the idea that the press should 3

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4 have equal political power in relation to the other three estates of the British Empire: the Lords, the Church, and the Commons. Freedom of the media was a cornerstone of this concept, and these freedoms not only enabled the media to report, comment on, and critique the government, it also was considered a responsibility of the press to do so. Similarly, a concept called Social Responsibility Theory emerged in the United States in the 20th Century. This normative theory asserts that the media serve to inform, entertain, sell, and most importantly, raise conflict to the plane of public awareness. This concept was developed from the writings of W.E. Hocking, The Commission on the Free Press, and journalists practitioner codes. This theory asserts that everyone should have access to the media and that the media should respect privacy and not infringe on the rights of individuals. The concept is grounded in freedom of the press from governmental control, unless the government felt that there was a compelling need that justified its intervention. The Social Responsibility perspective differs from Siebert, Peterson, and Schramms other three theories of the pressAuthoritarian, Libertarian, and Soviet-Totalitarianin that it argues that the media must fulfill its obligation of providing information to the public, and if it does not do so, someone should ensure that it does. This notion of an obligation of journalistic social responsibility is largely based on the fact that the media are the only industry that was guaranteed protection and freedom in the Bill of Rights (Siebert, Peterson, & Schramm, 1963). Based on these historical underpinnings, the role of the journalist has been shaped and discussed by numerous scholars and practitioners. For example, it is argued that freedom of the press is essential in a democratic society (Baker, 2002). Additionally, with this freedom comes the journalistic responsibility to provide credible information to the

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5 public (Lule, 2001). It is noteworthy that two major media organizationsthe Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA)have developed codes of ethics and professional practice that overlap in three specific areas of responsibility: (1) truth; (2) independence; and (3) accountability. Gatekeeping Theory In terms of applying theory to actual practiceto these journalist ideals and normsgatekeeping theory has guided research that has helped to inform these concerns about the media fulfilling their public role. In both the seminal gatekeeping study (White, 1950) and in its subsequent replication (Schneider, 1967) researchers went into the newsroom to observe how editors actually fulfilled their gatekeeping roles. These initial studies defined gatekeeping as the way in which the editors, or gatekeepers, selected and shaped what messages, out of the myriad content available, actually garnered media coverage. These field reports indicate that gatekeeping decisions were primarily based on newsworthiness, organizational norms, and space constraints, and the gatekeepers had the power not only to select, but also to shape and present information. Newsworthiness and space constraints (also referred to as the limited news hole) are the two primary considerations that emerged from these studies of how newsroom decisions were made, in terms of how the media gatekeepers responsibly serve their public duties (Shoemaker & Reese, 1996). Dimmick (1974) views gatekeeping as a complex process that can be highly subjective, as the initial studies indicated. However, he views the standardized norms of media coverage and ethical concerns to be components of the gatekeeping process. Shoemaker and Reese (1996) assert that there are three essential aspects to gatekeeping that can help to reduce chance of irresponsible journalism and bias. These

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6 three governing aspects are news value, objectivity, and organizational structure. It is perhaps the notion of objectivity, in terms of evaluating true news value, that is at the center of this dissertations evaluation of self-reflexivity, narcissism, and metacommunication in news coverage. In contrast to Shoemaker and Reeses views of responsible gatekeeping practices, there are growing concerns about the lack of, or relinquishment of, gatekeeping. It is argued that the trends of infotainment, tabloidization, and sensationalism in the news media are evidence of a fundamental disregard, or breakdown of, gatekeeping in the press (e.g., Shaw, 1994; Kiousis, 2002a; Williams & Delli Carpini, 2004). Research on media bias seems particularly relevant to this exploration of the growing concerns about metacommunication and the role of the journalist. While prior research on the press has long-established categories of bias, such as partisan, structural, and situational, there appear to be new forms of bias emerging. Scholars and media critics as well have noted that there tends to be a negative news bias (Kurtz, 1995; Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). Also, Williams (2002), for example, has argued that a synergy bias has emerged due to the significant amount of media consolidations, mergers, and strategic alliances in recent years. Williams posits that media coverage is now biased in favor of those organizations that the given media outlet is associated with. Similarly, Williams and Kiousis (2004) have explored the concept of corporate bias and have found evidence that suggests that media ownership and cross-promotion do, in fact, have a direct relationship with what does, and does not, get covered, by the media. The current dissertation seeks to investigate whether one of the most potent forms of media bias in not partisan, structural, or situational, but it is perhaps the medias bias towards itself.

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7 Based on the previously mentioned foundations that have shaped the role of the journalist, the free press, gatekeeping, and media bias, a major concern that is at the center of this dissertation is that of the media fulfilling the publics trust. For purposes of this dissertation, trust is defined as a three-part relationship: A expects B to do X (Hardin, 2001). Based on the freedom and responsibility that the media have, it would be a fair assessment to say that A, the public, expects B, the media, to do X, what it is obligated to do in a democratic society: provide timely, accurate, newsworthy, unbiased, and objective information. Work by media critics and scholars indicates that the media have violated such a reciprocal form of trust and are not fulfilling their role as objective, impartial observers who report to, and serve, the public. This possible violation of the social obligation of the media is evidenced in several ways. For example, scholars have noted that the actual amount of critical information needed by the public to make informed decisions, such as during the time of a political campaign, has dramatically decreased (e.g. Kiousis, 2002a). The media has been criticized for lack of substantive political coverage: The shrinking sound bite and shifting coverage emphasize the horserace aspects of a campaignfocusing on moments of clash and spectacleand even violates viewers expectations by ambushing and arguing with candidates or elected officials (Graber 1976; Kaid & Cryer, 1990; Morello, 1998). These problems, while noteworthy in their own right, are directly related to the concerns in this research, specifically because an issue of concern about such troubling journalistic practice is what type of coverage is offered as a result of these practices? Essentially, the byproducts of journalism run amuck are areas of growing concern. Often one byproduct that replaces substantive issue information by the media is instead

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8 coverage in which the journalists present themselves as participants of the process or information they are covering. For example, in a recent campaign cycle, it is reported that journalists were evaluating the election as boring and discussing why they felt it was so (Jamieson, 1998). Instead of providing the public with actual policy information, candidate issue stances, or other substantive facts, the journalists were instead acting as commentators and filling the news hole with their own inane chatter. Nimmo and Combs (1992) have similarly expressed concern about the excessive reliance of the media on the political pundits to fill valuable air time. Some mainstream publications (e.g., The New Yorker and Vanity Fair) have commented on this practice of filling news shows with these so-called talking heads and passing off their volatile, argumentative dialogue as informative television. Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz has also chimed in on this troubling practice and asserts that it has contributed to what he has labeled a media circus. The American Journalism Review and Columbia Journalism Review have also addressed the issues that arise when the media rely on the media as information sources as areas of concern. Those who are being interviewed and portrayed as so-called experts who provide insider reports often turn out to be either members of the media, partisan pundits, or quasi-scholars who are often pushing their latest book. What is particularly problematic about this practice of the media covering themselves instead of focusing on their traditional, established role is that the discourse is generally that of running subjective commentary and pontification, instead of objective reporting of information that could be provided if the media would offer it from readily available sources other than the media participants themselves. One might ask why the

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9 media are interviewing themselves instead of expert sources or actual participants in the events or issues they are covering. It appears that the answer is that the media tend to readily give up their vital function of serving as a watchdog for the public, because they are largely too busy watching themselvesenamored by the spectacle of the unfolding news process and their own involvement in it. Additionally, the media seem to have become wrapped up in what is now being labeled as spin, by the media players themselves as well as media critics. CNN even airs a news show that deals exclusively with spin: Spin Cycle. Isnt it a fair assumption, based on the underlying and clearly established principles of the press, that the professional journalists should rise above the so-called spin? Based on these established journalistic norms, it would seem that it is the medias job to sift through the public relations/public information materials they are provided, synthesize this, and provide objective information to the public. Instead, it appears that the media practitioners are so wrapped up in the process that they literally spin the spin and take up valuable time and space away from the business of providing actual news and factual data in the process of doing so. Could not this synthesis of public relations information or so-called spin be done behind the scenes, and does not this airing of the news process appear to violate the trust and considerable responsibility that has been bestowed upon the media? In a Canadian documentary, titled Truth Merchants, a picture is painted for the audience of the media players and the public relations professionals playing an ongoing, daily game of cat and mouse to see who can get the best of the other party. The contest for each to best the other is played out on a daily basis, and it appears that it is the public that pays the price for this game (McMahon, 1998).

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10 War Coverage From newsreels to radio to television to the Web, electronic news has been able to provide coverage to the public during these most dire of circumstances, and it is especially in a time of war when such coverage literally means life or death. Audiences tune in, watch, or log on, in order to get up-to-date information. Just as the media channels and the wars reported on have changed over time, so of course, has the content: Before the first civilian war correspondents in the middle of the nineteenth century, generals reported their own wars. Today, in the war on terrorism if we want a version of what is happening, we turn on CNN or BBC television and there is an American general at the Pentagon, or the British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon at the Ministry of Defense, telling us what they have decided we should know about the war. Unfortunately this flood of material, coupled with the insatiable appetite of the 24-hour rolling TV news and the demand of the foreign desks for scoops, made the temptation to invent stories difficult to resist. (Knightley, 2002, p. 170) Additionally, the reasons for the use of sensationalized content and graphic visuals can be attributed more to ratings than to helping the public interpret the complexities of warfare: Historical evidence shows that wars are generally good news for television networks; the global success of CNN in the wake of the Gulf War is a prominent case in point. Televising live conflict can be particularly profitable if it concerns a patriotic war (Thussu, 2002, p. 210). While a period of war might be a time of higher ratings and profits for televised news, it is also a period in which these broadcasts face greater criticism: In a society at war, the media are even more carefully scrutinizedboth by leaders and by scholarsfrom the point of view of content and control. Assumptions are made about the functions of the media in the maintenance of civilian morale, the bolstering of convictions about

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11 justice of the cause, the countering of rumors, the strengthening of solidarity, and so on (Peled & Katz, 1974, p. 50). One reason for this adversarial relationship between the press and the military is the issue of access to accurate information, or the lack thereof: Managing news and information about U.S. military interventions became more sophisticated in the 1990s with the full implantation of the pool system at the time of the 1991 Gulf War, when a select band of journalist were permitted access only to predetermined combat locations during Operation Desert Storm. This strategy, devised by the Pentagon, helped the U.S. to monitor and censor information about the war before it was broadcast. The militarys definition of sensitive: information also included anything that might undermine public support for military action. (Thussu, 2002, p. 204) Prior research has focused on objectivity and reporting techniques during war and how to balance journalistic practices with public needs (Fishman, 1980; Gans, 1979; Gitlin, 1980; Tuchman, 1978). For example, Hallin (1986) conducted a study on the news practices of journalists in the Vietnam War and argued that there was an emphasis in news coverage on specific events, and newsworthiness was dictated by official sources and the importance of reporting on the war itself, instead of interpreting it. Conversely, Arno (1984) critiqued the medias coverage of the Vietnam War and asserted that personal interpretation and framing information was in fact what the reporters did engage in, instead of merely functioning as objective communication professionals. The Vietnam War was a turning point in the medias coverage of military conflict and was the first modern war in which television actually brought visual images of combat into homes. Despite the impact these still images and footage had on the public, they were not close-up, live reports like we see today. Then the 1991 Gulf War took televised war coverage to a new level, one in which viewers could actually watch missiles being launched, and the coverage of this war is

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12 credited for making CNN: Televisions coverage of the Gulf War [1991], for the first time in history, brought military conflict into living rooms across the globe, thanks to networks like CNN. In the high-tech, bloodless, almost surreal visualizations of war, cockpit videos of precision bombings. . (Thussu, 2002, p. 204). This view of war and destruction was at a distance, and viewing it on television, it appeared as a painless Nintendo exercise (Said, 1993, p. 3). Kaid et al. (1994) content analyzed CNNs nightly reporting during the 45-day Gulf War in 1991 from a dramatistic perspective, examining the dominant ways in which CNN framed the war: The primary conclusions of this analysis suggest that CNN presented an American view which often focused on the media players and offered disproportionate coverage to telecommunications and military technology (p. 148). The authors argue that the emphasis on the dramatic and the spectacle in this reporting created an alternate, mediated reality for viewers. Though not expressly labeled as media narcissism or metacommunication, the findings of Kaid et al. indicate a turning point in war coverage in which the journalists inserted themselves into the story at an unprecedented level, thus becoming participants in the military conflict that they themselves were reporting on. Similarly, much scholarly research about the medias coverage of the 1991 Gulf War indicates a general consensus that the reporting was biased in favor of an American point of view. Additionally these studies conclude that a reason for this bias was that the media were favorably influenced by the advanced technology used by the United States against Iraq (Carrier & Swanson, 1991; Liebes, 1992; Zelizer, 1992; Zorn, 1991). Kaid et al. (1993), however, compared how five international newspapers covered the war and

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13 found that the international press was not as supportive and influenced by the high-tech visuals and did not find uniformity in the prevalent themes of the war coverage. The 2003 war with Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, was an even more unique military conflictone in which journalists were given unprecedented access to the military, and for the first time visuals of combat were filmed close-up and electronically broadcast in real-time for viewers across the globe. This coverage was not bloodless and was sometimes shockingly violent and gritty, as compared to the images seen only a decade earlier in the prior U.S. war with Iraq. Embedded journalists actually traveled in tanks with soldiers, and ill-fated, star celebrities such as Peter Arnett and Geraldo Rivera made spectacles of themselves as they broadcast live from battle scenes, even pointing out actual troop movements and critiquing the U.S. war effort as it was playing out behind them. In many ways, the electronic media coverage of the 2003 war made it look like the ultimate reality TV show. While the nature of showing such coverage is a controversial topic, Bennett argues that people cannot interpret what they dont see (Bennett, 2001, p. 145). Whether the embedded trend can is open for debate; the ubiquity of embedded journalism raised this concept to national salience, and embedded was selected by yourdictionary.com as its word of the year for 2003 (yourdictionary.com, 2003). The current dissertation will add to the body of literature about electronic media war coverage as it examines the content during a period of time when both journalists and the public had unprecedented, almost-immediate access to information about and images of actual military action.

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14 The Web as a News Source Not only was this an unprecedented war, in terms of journalistic access to military action in general, it was also the first official U.S. Web war. The Web was still in its very infantile stages when the first Gulf War occurred, but it has developed into a significant news source since. Therefore, not only were reports being broadcast electronically through the medium of television as they occurred, they were also being reported in real time and in multimedia on the Web. Overall, the use of the Web as a news information seeking tool has seen a dramatic increase during the last decade. This was specifically noteworthy in the 2000 presidential election, when unlike the 1996 American general election cycle, politicians turned to the Web to communicate directly with voters, and citizens turned to the Web to seek the most up-to-date and accurate election results. In fact, the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the Pew Center for People and the press are offering regular reports now on the volume of online information gathering.These organizations have offered reports over the past decade that cite a rise in using the Internet to fulfill the publics political information and news gathering needs. This increasing use of the Web for information seeking proved to be evident during the 2003 U.S. war with Iraq. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (2003), the online news audience increased significantly from the time before the war began. This study indicated that 77% of U.S. Internet users reported seeking information on the Web about the war. The survey also indicates that 56% percent of American Web users accessed a Web site with the express purpose of getting news or other information about the war in Iraq. This study also reports that 20% of American Internet users relied on the Web in order to form opinions about the war.

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15 In an initial study of international coverage of the first few hours following the U.S. attack on Iraq, Dimitrova, Kaid, Williams, and Trammell (2003) found that most news Web sites had immediately updated their homepages and were offering breaking news of the onset of this new war. Since the proliferation of the Internet as a major source of news, numerous studies have examined how effectively news Web sites function. Such studies have examined how national breaking news is covered (Dimitrova, Connolly-Ahern, Williams, Kaid, & Reid, 2003). There are numerous studies on the effectiveness and use of online newspapers, magazines, and television news Web sites. Such studies examine the work of online reporters (Deuze, 1998), the use of the Web for information gathering (Garrison, 2001), and the pragmatics of news Web sites organizational operations and journalistic practice (Singer 2001, 2003). Another advantage of accessing news on the Web is that control of information is in the hands of the user. While the media gatekeepers control what is linked to in articles on their Web sites, the user maintains control of which hyperlinks to use and what information they want to be exposed to (Eveland & Dunwoody, 2001; Peng et al., 1999). Kiousis (2002b) argues that users are drawn to Web sites, especially ones that offer multimedia and interactive elements. The current dissertation will add to the body of literature about electronic media war coverage by examining how for the first time in history, a U.S. war literally unfolded on the Web. Additionally, the immediacy of Web site news coverage of the war provides a unique new medium to apply the metacommunication concept.

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16 Framing Framing theory posits that media not only set the agenda but also transfer the salience of specific attributes to issues, events, or candidates. A media frame is the central organizing idea for news content that supplies context and suggests what the issue is using selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration (Tankard, 2001; Tankard et al, 1991). Framing theory suggests that the media place a frame of reference around its audiences thought process. Tuchman (1978) considers the organization of everyday reality to be the most important function of media frames. According to Gitlin (1980), media frames organize the world both for journalists who report it and, in some important degree, for consumers who rely on their reports. Gamson and Modigliani (1997) suggest that journalists framing of the news is due to professional norms and the influence of special interest groups. Similarly, Edelman (1997, 1993) views the act of framing as being clearly impacted by authorities and groups. In a study on the 1991 Gulf War, Kelman (1995) offers 10 dominant frames that the U.S. administration used to shape public discourse: (1) no negotiations; (2) fear of reward for aggression; (3) blinkmanship; (4) unbalanced cost-benefit analysis; (5) human costs for the enemy; (6) self-glorification; (7) stigmatization of dissent; (8) rallying around the flag; (9) overcoming the Vietnam Syndrome; and (10) a New World Order. Shoemaker and Reese (1996) and Tuchman (1978) identified at least five key factors that may potentially influence how journalists frame a given issue: (1) social norms and values; (2) ownership and organizational pressures and constraints; (3)

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17 Pressures of interest groups; (4) journalistic routines; and (5) ideological or political orientations of journalists. Iyengar and Simon (1993) purport that network news frames can be classified as being either episodic or thematic: Episodic frames focus on specific events and incidents, and thematic frames emphasize abstract ideas and general, broad information. Scheufele (1999) argues that the way the mass media frame an issue affects audience perceptions and suggests the consideration of two dominant frames. First, at the media level, journalists' framing of an issue might be influenced by several social-structural or organizational variables. Second, at the audience level, frames as the dependent variable are examined mostly as direct outcomes of the way mass media frame an issue. Price, Tewksbury, and Powers (1997) have studied framing from an effects perspective and argue that how the media frames the news influences audiences perceptions. Pan and Kosicki (1991, 2001) view framing and the structuring of news as a strategic practice and have identified four specific aspects of information that shape the framing process: (1) syntactic structurespatterns in the arrangements of words, phrases; (2) script structuresnewsworthiness of an issue or event; (3) thematic structuresjournalists reliance on linking news with preexisting information; and (4) rhetorical structuresjournalistic voice and style of packaging news. In an analysis of framing European politics in print and broadcast news, Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) identify five main frames that they believe broadly categorize the media content: (1) conflict frame; (2) human interest frame; (3) economic consequences frame; (4) morality frame; and (5) responsibility frame.

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18 In a study that focused on the analysis of visual framing, Messaris and Abraham (2001) investigated how African Americans were represented in television news. Based on this analysis, the researchers found evidence of subtle racism largely due to the selection of the types of photographic images of African Americans used, the settings of these photographs, and the racial cues that were provides within news stories, through visual juxtapositions and associations [that] provide a picture of those who occupy [urban] space (p. 223). Framing theory also suggests that the media have the power not only to select what is covered, but also how items are covered. The implications of how items are covered are that positive or negative framing could influence public opinion. For example, De Vreese, Peter, and Semetko (2001) assert that while frames may indeed be issue-specific or generic in nature, that framing often focuses on conflict and consequences of events, issues, and policies (p. 109). De Vreese (2003) argues that frames have inherent valence by suggesting, for example, positive or negative aspects, solutions, or treatments. Given this valence, news frames can be expected to influence public support for various policy measures (p. 4). In 1993, McCombs and Shaw expanded their original definition of agenda setting to include the concept of framing, stating that, Both the selection of objects for attention and the selection of frames for thinking about these objects are powerful agenda-setting roles . [that may] direct attention toward certain attributes and away from others (p.62). A number of scholars since then have attempted to extend the boundaries of agenda setting theory to include the concept of framing as second-level/attribute agenda setting (Ghanem, 1997; Golan, & Wanta, 2001; Kiousis, Bantimaroudis, & Ban 1999).

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19 While framing or attaching attributes to issues may be viewed as a component of the transfer of salience that is essential to the agenda-setting model, framing theory does not need to be examined as such a subcomponent of agenda setting, and can be tested by the use of content analysis, without comparing rank-ordered issues or attributes. The use of framing as a theoretical underpinning provides the researcher with an excellent approach to analyzing the manifest content of media coverage. Simply put, Entman (1993) states that to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text. . . The current dissertation will add to the existing literature on framing theory by building on what Holloway (2001) points out are two key components of Entmans definition of framing: selection and salience. Metacommunication Media narcissism, self-reflexive reporting, and metacommunication are three terms that are being used to describe how the media have shifted their focus more and more to their favorite subject: themselves. While the terms are different and moving towards a theory of metacommunication is relatively new, the concept of media self-coverage and the concerns of the impact of such reporting are decades old. The study of metacommunication has mostly emphasized the role which the media have begun to play in the political process. Instead of reporting the news of a political campaign, the media have increasingly begun to appear more like a self-aware and participatory institution, and this trend of mediated politics is an area of noted concern as to its impact on the democratic process (Bennett, & Entman, 2001;Graber, 1997; Mazzoleni, & Shulz, 1999; Swanson, & Mancini, 1996).

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20 Instead of sitting on the sidelines and reporting the facts, The news media no longer simply report; they interpret. Journalists are quick to insert their own construction of events and issues between candidates and voters (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000, p. 363-364). One major problem in the coverage of politics on network news is the decrease in actual attention to the content of candidates campaign messages. Studies now indicate that the amount of airtime dedicated to presenting substantive information from respective candidates is shrinkingliterally. Overall, there is less coverage of political events in general. From 1992 to 1996, the cut in political coverage is staggering. In the past, conventions were covered from beginning to end. Now, they are only highlighted in most news coverage. The media are just not covering the process of political races as much as they once did. In fact, the average amount of time now allotted to air candidates sound-bites has shrunk to mere secondsinstead of minutesin which it is utterly impossible to ascertain the true essence of the civic dialogue the candidate is attempting to have with the public (Hallin, 1992; Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). For example, Lichter et al. (2000, p. 4) found that the average amount of airtime given to candidate statements on the evening news shrank from 42 seconds in 1968 to a mere 10 seconds in 1988 and an even lover 7 to 8 seconds in 1992. It can be argued that this dumbing down or abbreviating of the candidates messages is irresponsible and ethically questionable since a brief quote might notand usually cannotbe representative of a candidates true message. In fact, this type of compression potentially misrepresents the real nature of candidates communications.

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21 Another troublesome aspect of political campaign coverage by the news media is the emphasis on what is referred to as horserace journalism and the overall political spectacle. Many scholars and media critics have noted the trend in both print and broadcast media of coverage predominately focusing on the political campaign as a contest, instead of a legitimate, substantive political process (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). This image-driven type of coverage does little to inform and educate voters about domestic or foreign issues or policy issues that might directly affect the voters, but instead focuses on the candidates as if they were celebrities, sports figures, or game-show participants who are in a type of race or contest instead of a political campaign to hold public office and serve a constituency (Colford, 1998; Graber, 1976; Patterson, 1997). These troubling practices take up valuable space in the limited news hole by focusing airtime on the medias talking heads, instead of the political candidates and their issues. This focus of the media was noted in a study of the 1996 presidential campaign that indicate[s] that questions posed by the audience members in call-in programs often focused more on issues than those asked by journalists, who tended to focus on the strategy of the candidates (Johnson et al., 1999). The trend of the media not to just objectively report a given news story, but instead to put themselves in the given news content and to emphasize the negative, are areas of journalistic practice that is of growing concern and has received a fair amount of criticism, both in the scholarly and the popular press. This trend is particularly alarming in a democracy where the public relies on the media to provide substantive information on political and policy issues. Researchers have noted this practice and even measured the amount of time the media spend talking to and about themselves, versus actual coverage during presidential campaigns, finding

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22 significant decreases in the amounts of substantive coverage of issues (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). Alarmingly, it has been found that the amount of coverage has drastically decreased, while the amounts of media participants discussions have increased. Scholars in the field of political communication note that this trend is part of a bigger pattern of campaign coverage that focuses on the spectacle of a political race, and have even deemed this horserace journalism (Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). This image-driven reporting favors the short sound bite and is often followed by an instant analysis from a media personality. Similarly, Lichter and Noyes (1995) argue that the three main networks function as intermediaries between the candidates and the public (p. 234). Another problematic trend is the medias tendency to focus the emphasis of campaign coverage on itself, as media commentators report and comment on sensationalistic stories instead of ones that focus on policy. In addition to this tabloidization of news, the media also direct more attention to argumentative discussions between candidateseither from debates or the daily spin. This attention on argumentation is often driven by the need to boost ratings and may not accurately present the true nature of the complexity of the opposing views candidates hold on varying issues (Morello, 1998; Paletz, & Vinegar, 2001). Again, the attention is focused not just on the sensational or the unusual, but it is also focused on the medias talking heads who are often making subjective judgments, which shifts emphasis to the unique and the commentators themselves. In addition this type of focus could also be considered to be a media bias. From early studies on partisan bias, a number of other biases have emerged. Scholars have

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23 acknowledged that there are unintended forms of bias, such as situational (e.g., an incumbent having more command of the media) and structural (e.g. programming time limits or print news hole), but as society and the media system have become more complex, so have the types of biases evident in the media. One such bias is the negative bias. Scholars note that not only is there a tendency for television reporters to have more airtime than the actual candidates or public servants but also tend to cover negative news much more than positive (Kaid et al., 1996; Lichter, Noyes, & Kaid, 2000). Not only are journalists focused on negative aspects of the election, they also seem to be negative about the process in general: Jamieson notes that as early as August 1996, media commentators were characterizing the U.S. presidential election as boring (Jamieson et al., 1998, p 232). It is noteworthy that the media personalities are not only biased towards negative content, but also that they are inclined assert their own personal views and characterizations of the political process into what one would hope would be substantive, informative coverage. In The Political Pundits (Nimmo, & Combs, 1992), the authors agree that the pundits mediate reality for viewers, creating a less informed public that is a detriment to democracy, and they also argue that punditry traces its roots as far back as Biblical times and to the time of Aristotle and that the trend of having sages and oracles has become big business, especially on television where chattering is apparently revered. A major problem with narrators dominating television news is that the public may be likely to buy into what these journalists are selling: To the media conscious viewer, the television news format establishes journalistic credibility (Snow, 149, 1983). This format influence is perhaps largely due to the visual emphasis and editing techniques

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24 used in this electronic medium: Packaging such emphases within formats that are visual, brief, action oriented and dramatic produces an exciting and familiar tempo to news audiences (Altheide et al., 2001, p. 307). In addition to the packaging and format, the authoritative manner in which television personalities state opinions as facts lend a sense of credibility to what is often subjective commentary. There are two principal problems with political commentary on television (1) todays political talk shows contribute little, and sometimes even detract, from the robust debate needed to sustain a healthy democracy; and (2) television leads top commentators astray, making them celebrities or converting them into cartoon figures while diverting them from their finest and most socially useful pursuits (Hirsch, 1991, 211). It is of concern that, the media become part of the dialectic process of the production of consent, shaping the consensus while reflecting it (Jensen, 1992, p. 2). This insertion of the media into the process of events was exemplified in a study of the Susan Smith murder trial in South Carolina in which Zoch (2001) argues, The impact of the media presence on the town of Union and the trial itself was also framed through the use of exemplars that highlighted how the media were becoming part of the stories. These exemplars are identified as events occurring because of the media presence and came in two forms: those which were representative of how the media affected the trial, and those which represented the medias effect on the town (p. 201). Similarly, Johnson, Boudreau, and Glowaki (1996) explored the issue of media self coverage in political campaigns using a quantitative methodology. Their study examined both amount and tone of coverage devoted to different themes of media coverage during the 1992 presidential election in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune and on

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25 ABC, CBS, and NBC. The researchers identified four types of stories about the media in the campaign: (1) media performance/impact; (2) media coverage of policy issues and campaign issues; (3) candidate media strategy/candidate media performance; and (4) general media stories. They found only 8 percent of all story themes coded focused on the media in the media coverage of the 1992 election cycle, with the most prevalent theme being general media stories. While this might seem like an insignificant percentage of stories, this study of media self-coverage from the early nineties, points towards an alarming trend. Broadly, metacommunication is defined as the news medias response to a new, third force in news making: professional political PR. Metacommunication is defined as the news medias self referential reflections on the nature of the interplay between political public relations and political journalism (Esser & DAngelo 2001a). Esser and DAngelo and their colleagues have done extensive work on the role of both print and electronic media reporting during domestic and international political campaigns and have identified what they refer to as a postmodern metacommunication frame. This postmodern metacommunication frame, they argue, is one in which reporters increasingly report the role journalists play in the political process. They argue that, The main focus of modern campaigns centers around publicity generated in television studios. They are TV-dominated, nationally coordinated and advised by (mostly external) professional consultants specializing in communications, marketing, polling and campaign management (Esser & DAngelo, 2001b, p. 3). This postmodern metacommunication frame is broken down into two categories: (1) self-reflexive news and (2) strategy/process news. Self-reflexive reporting refers to

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26 coverage that describes the role the media is playing in political campaigns. Strategy/process news refers to stories that describe how political candidates and their professional communications strategists (often negatively labeled as Spin Doctors) attempt to use the media to communicate crafted messages to the public. Much of this work emphasizes an adversarial relationship between the media and the political players (DAngelo, 1999, 2002; DAngelo & Esser, 2003; Esser, 2000, 2001a, 2001b; Esser & DAngelo, 2002, 2003; Esser, Reinemann, & Fan 1999, 2000, 2001; Esser & Spanier, 2003). Three key components to this theoretical argument of an existence of a postmodern political communication age are (1) viewing the news media as a political institution (Cook, 1998, 2001; Esser & DAngelo, 2001b); (2) viewing political public relations as a strategic communication endeavor (Bennett, & Manheim, 2000; Esser, & DAngelo, 2001b; Manheim, 1998); and (3) viewing the news medias response to these prior two developments as metacommunication (DAngelo, 1999; Esser & DAngelo, 2001b; Esser, Reinemann, & Fan, 2001). This emphasis on the strategy/process news is troubling to a number of media critics, but there are mixed interpretations of its impact on society. On the negative side, researchers argue that one type of strategy/process news is adversarial and is detrimental to the democratic process (Blumer, 1997; Kerbel, 1997, 1998, 1999). However, other scholars identify a second category of strategy/process newseducational strategy/process news, and this second category is heralded as a new type of reporting that serves to inform the electorate and enhance the democratic public sphere (DAngelo, 1999; McNair, 2000).

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27 Stebenne (1993) argues that this trend in media self coverage is a logical outgrowth of the new emphasis on the political process and the growing sense of the medias central place within it (p. 87-88), and indeed research indicates that the metacoverage frame has become increasingly prevalent in political campaign reporting. Studies of the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns found use of this frame accounted for 20 percent of the coverage in the 1992 election cycle and increased to 25 percent in the 1996 coverage (Kerbel, 1998; Kerbel, Apee, & Ross, 2000). This current dissertation aims to examine the level of media self coverage in the reporting of the media campaign, in order to see if this trend appears beyond the political process of campaigning and elections and into the realm of war and national security. Kerbel (1994) posits that this increase in self-reflexive reporting has grown out of the increase in political public relations attempting to control media content through the use of somewhat questionable tacticstactics that always put their candidate in the best light and do not necessarily accurately represent reality. Kerbel asserts that through this process of being manipulated by campaign strategists, the media has become more self aware of the importance of its role in the political dialogue or a campaign and has therefore considered the topic of how they cover a campaign, and the relationship between candidates and the media, as content worthy of substantive coverage (86-90). The current dissertation examines whether or not this apparent cycle of strategist manipulation and media self awareness of the role it plays in the civic dialogue of a military conflict are apparent. A study that explicated and applied the research of metacommunication to a crisis situation, specifically, the first four hours of televised news coverage following the

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28 terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Connolly-Ahern, et al. (2002) found that both categories of metacommunication were prevalent in that reporting. The researchers found that self-reflexive reporting accounted for 43 percent of the stories. This is one of the rare cases in which the concept of metacommunication was applied to non political campaign coverage, and even though it only focuses on initial coverage, the study indicates that metacommunication in news content is not limited to an election cycle but is also prevalent during a crisis situation. The current dissertation will add to the existing research on metacommunication by explicating a theoretical perspective that has primarily focused on political campaign reporting and applying it to the extended coverage of a military campaign. It will additionally add the component of Internet coverage, an area that has not previously been explored in terms of a war or the metacommunication concept in general. Hypotheses and Research Questions Based on the prior literature on framing theory, evidence of metacommunication frames and self-reflexive reporting in political campaigns, this study suggests the following hypotheses about televised new broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom: H1: Televised news broadcasts will rely more on media sources than on independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. H2. Web coverage will rely more on media sources than on independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. H3. Overall, the episodic media frame will be most prevalent during the initial stages of the war, and the thematic media frame will be become more prevalent as the war progresses. This dissertation seeks to answer the following research questions about televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

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29 R1: What were the prevalent frames relied on in the media coverage of the war, and were there significant differences in the prevalence of these frames in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R2: How prevalent is the metacommunication frame in comparison to the other frames in the media coverage of the war, and is this comparison significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R3: Did the prevalence of certain frames change over time in the media coverage of the war, and were there significant difference in the prevalence of these frames in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R4: Did the prevalence of the metacommunication frame, in comparison to the other frames, change over time in the media coverage of the war, and was this change significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R5: Where there more cases of self-reflexive or strategy/process types of metacommunication frames in the media coverage of the war, and was the amount of these cases significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R6: What were the types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames relied on in the media coverage of the war, and was the reliance on these self-reflexive metacommunication frames significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R7. What were the types of strategy/process metacommunication frames relied on in the media coverage of the war, and was the reliance on these strategy/process metacommunication frames significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R8: Which category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalentthe adversarial, educational or neutral in the media coverage of the war, and was the prevalence of these three categories of the strategy/process metacommunication frames significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom? R9: Was the pattern of episodic and thematic frames over time as the war progressed different between televised news broadcast and Web coverage? R10: How were the Bush administrations public information efforts assessed in the media coverage of the war, and were these assessments significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

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30 R11: How were the Iraqi governments public information efforts assessed in media coverage of the war, and are were these assessments significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

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CHAPTER 3 METHODS This study uses quantitative content analysis as the method to measure the presence or absence of metacommunication frames, the categories thereof, and to make comparisons between TV news broadcasts and Web coverage about Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sample The study used content from United States television news and Web coverage from March 20, 2003the first official day of news coverage about the U.S. military strikes on Iraq, through May 1, 2003when President Bush made a declaration of victory. For purposes of this study, the story was the unit of analysis, and all war-related stories collected during this time period were used. Television news coverage consisted of evening broadcasts from the ABC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News. Television news coverage from the prime-time evening newscasts recorded on videotape was examined. Thirty minutes of news coverage from each networks news broadcast was the amount of coverage from each day that was analyzed. These times for ABC and CBS were from 6:30 7:00 p.m. (EST), and for CNN and Fox the 7:00 7:30 p.m. (EST) time period was used. Viewership of these networks news broadcasts during the Iraqi war are reported as follows: ABC's World News Tonightaverage of 9.9 million viewers; CBS evening newsaverage of 7.5 million viewers; CNNaverage of 2.7 million viewers; and Fox newsaverage of 3.3 million viewers (Johnson, 2003). 31

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32 The Web sites data that were analyzed were systematically downloaded dailymanual, saving each Web page as a separate file. This data collection captured both the text and the graphics, but not the multimedia, such as audio or video clips. The Web news coverage sample consisted of the four sites: ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, CNN.com, and FOXNews.com, which newsknife.com rated in their list of the top Iraq war news sites, and in their rating of the overall top U.S. news sites of 2003 (newsknife.com, 2003). A constraint that affected the sample size and prevented using the entire universe of televised news broadcasts and the compatible Web site coverage for these networks was the problem faced by NBCs TV and Web formats. The initial goal of this study was to include NBC and MSNBC in the televised news broadcasts sample and their Web sites in the Web coverage sample. The barrier to doing so was that they do not have separate Web sites, but instead during the time of this data collection, NBC had a Web site that merged its multiple media products including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and Newsweek. This hybrid Web site often did not distinguish which original media channel its content is attributed to, and made it impossible to do a balanced and accurate comparison with the other TV and Web coverage being analyzed for this study and would have potentially skewed the data when comparing the two media channels of the Web coverage and the Televised news broadcasts. This TV news and Web coverage sample was limited in that it focused only on leading U.S. media outlets coverage of the war. Additionally, the material from the stories were coded and compared in this analysis was the verbal/textual content onlynot the graphic elements. Since the TV coverage was obviously moving video, and the Web coverage collected only provided still images, a comparison of the visuals would not

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33 be compatible, given the differences in the manifest content of these visual elements. However, while not officially coded this constraint of comparing two differing media channels does not prohibit using examples of noteworthy visual content to help clarify examples of stories that exemplify certain types of coverage in the discussion section of this study. The visuals were used in an illustrative way to enhance understanding of the context of a given metacommunication frame. Categories and Definitions This study was designed to analyze the types of sources used during the electronic medias coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Therefore, each individual story was coded with a number of variables, including: television broadcast news network, Web site, length of the story (in seconds and words), main reporter or interviewer, and sources. Unit of Analysis For purposes of this study, the news story was the unit of analysis. For TV coverage a story was marked by a distinct beginning and ending of a central topic area (i.e., public information, White House communications strategy, Removal of Saddam/Regime change, etc.). A story might contain numerous sources and information related to the central topic; and until there was a distinct shift in topic area, the coders considered a unit of time devoted to one central topic a single story. In order to determine this, coders watched videotaped televised news broadcasts of the war coverage, identified the beginning and ending of a story, watched it again and timed it using a stop watch to determine the length of the story. The coders then watched the story for a third time in order to determine the manifest verbal content of the story before coding it.

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34 For Web coverage, a story consisted of the use of a headline and subsequent text. Story length was determined by a word count, and the coders coded for the manifest textual content of each Web story. Only the Web stories for each given day were codednot the archived coverage that was linked to from a given story, but instead just the current story with a byline and date for each day in the time-period analyzed. Source Attribution Coders identified the presence or absence of sources attributed in each story from a predetermined list based on prior research: (1) Anchor (for televised news broadcasts) or Author (for Web coverage); (2) Reporter; (3) Anonymous; (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group; (5) Military Expert; (6) Republican Political Pundit; (7) Democratic Political Pundit; (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit; (9) Media Personality from Same Network; (10) Media Personality from Other Organization; (11) Scholar/Media Critic; (12) Embedded Journalist; (13) Associated Press or other Wire Service; (14) Citizens; (15) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors; (16) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson; (17) Report/Document/Poling Data; (18) U.S. Military Official(s); (19) Iraqi Dissidents; (20) Other. The option of selecting other provided coders with the opportunity to identify this source in an open-ended area on the codesheet. Coders were then asked to determine the number of Independent and Media Sources relied on in each story. An independent source was an individual or group that was not clearly identified as being a part of the media. A media source was identified as an individual or group that was clearly a member of the media. Frames Coders determined the presence or absence of the following list of frames, based on prior research. The list of frames to be coded were: (1) Military Conflictframes that

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35 emphasize the military battle itself on macro or micro levels; (2) American Patriotismframes that emphasize citizens rallying around the flag and a resurgence of American patriotism in various manifestations; (3) Protestframes that show individuals or groups, in the U.S. or abroad protesting or the discussion of protest of the war; (4) Human Interestframes that emphasize the human element of the war, including soldiers, their families, and any citizens; (5) Responsibilityframes that assign responsibility for the military conflict to a given individual, government, or regime; (6) Economic Consequencesframes that focus on the either short or long-term economic consequences that the war will have domestically, in the Middle East, or internationally; (7) Diagnosticframes that emphasize an assessment of how and why this military conflict developed; (8) Prognosticframes that emphasize what outcome of the military conflict will be, including the removal of Saddam/regime change, regional stability, loss of U.S. soldiers, etc.; (9) Rebuilding of Iraqframes that specifically deal with the rebuilding of Iraqi and the future of the country and its people after the war is finished; and (10) Metacommunicationa frame that emphasizes either the medias self-reflexivity or the communication process between sources and the news media. Coders then indicated if each frame that was coded as present was best characterized as being episodic or thematic. Episodic frames were ones that dealt with specific events and incidents, individuals, and more micro-level news coverage, and thematic frames were those that dealt with general, broad topic areas of information, concepts and abstract ideas, and more macro-level news coverage. Additionally, coders indicated which of the sources from the above list discussed the content associated with

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36 these frames by writing the identification number of the source(s) in the space provided on the codesheet. Additionally, coders were asked to determine the association of the metacommunication frame to the other above-listed frames. If the metacommunication frame was coded as being present, coders were instructed to indicate which of the above source and subject frames areas the metacommunication directly related to by filling in the identification number of the frame(s) in the spaces provided. However, coders were also instructed that the metacommunication frame may, at given times, be treated as a stand-alone frame. These cases would be when the frame was not clearly associated with any of the other established frames, and the story this was about a non-issue or topic but was, instead purely media-narcissistic babble and self-talk. Metacommunication Frames The study was designed primarily to determine the extent, or level, of metacommunication by the media during the reporting of a military campaign. For purposes of this study, metacommunication was defined as the news medias self-reflexive coverage of itself, in a general sense and as the interplay between the Bush administrations or the Iraqi governments public information efforts about Operation Iraqi Freedom and the news medias assessments thereof in resulting televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war. The concept of metacommunication was further broken down into two distinct areas: self-reflexive reporting and strategy/process news. While, it is acknowledged that, The two dimensions of meta-coveragepress and publicitycan at times overlap within news stories (Esser & DAngelo, 2003, p. 620), for purposes of this study the two differing types of metacommunication were treated as mutually exclusive categories, and

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37 coders characterized each instance of metacommunication frame presence as being characterized as either one or the other type of metacommunication, not both. Coders based these decisions on the following definitions and examples of self-reflexive and strategy/process metacommunication frames. The self-reflexive metacommunication frame was defined as any coverage that referred directly or indirectly to the medias role in bringing news about the U.S. military effort against Iraq to the public. Incidents of self-reflexive reporting include: information about the impact the coverage of the military campaign was having on the public; references to the work of the television news network or Web sites own reporters (such as embedded journalists); referrals to the electronic medias other news products for more information; members of the media used as news sources; and mentions of the work of other news media outlets. If the self reflexive metacommunication frame was coded as being present, the coders identified which of the following types of coverage best characterized this frame: (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage; (2) Anchors or Media Personalities Discussing their Opinions; (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War; (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News Organization, Network, or Publication; (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from another News; Organization, Network, or Publications; (6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event; (7) Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media; or (8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing. The strategy/process metacommunication frame referred to any coverage that refers directly or indirectly to the relationship between the media and the leaders of the

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38 Operation Iraqi Freedom. Strategy/process news is defined as information about how government, official agencies, and other groups rely on the media to relay important information during the U.S. military campaign against Iraq. Examples of strategy/process news include: officials using the media to make public announcements; obvious staged events; live coverage of press conferences; visuals of reporters attending press conferences; and direct interviews with public officials. This study additionally evaluated strategy/process metacommunication frames on another sub-level distinction. Coders determined if the strategy/process metacommunication was characterized as being adversarial, educational, or neutral. Adversarial types of strategy/process metacommunication frames included stories that used negative labels that implied manipulation or the use of ploys in the communication process as spin or called source information a sound bite. The educational type of strategy/process metacommunication frame was one in which the viewer would actually learn something about the communication process between the source and the media but was without any negative connotations and was, instead, unbiased and clearly informative about the news gathering or dissemination process. The neutral type of strategy/process metacommunication frame was one in which there is no negative or positive slant to the communication process, but instead just states the occurrence of a communication from source to the media without providing any substantive information about the transferal of said information or the news process. Public Information Efforts Bush administrations public information efforts were defined as follows: Coders indicated the Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administrations Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4)

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39 Not Applicable. Additionally, coders were asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that were used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided. Iraqi Governments public information efforts were also coded. Coders indicated the Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi governments Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders were asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that were used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided. Coding Process Based on prior research addressed in the literature review, and the above-listed hypotheses and research questions, codesheets and codebooks were developed. In order to make the coding process as expeditious and clear as possible for coders who were assisting in the coding of the content for this study, two codesheets and codebooks were developed: one for televised news stories and another for Web coverage. These coding instruments were identical in all ways, except for areas that dealt directly with the specific medium (such as author or anchor). Two undergraduate and two graduate students (one of whom was this researcher) were trained in a series of separate coding sessions for both televised news broadcasts and Web coverage coding, and the coding process was implemented. Intercoder reliability across all categories for both codesheets ranged from an average of .75 to 1.00 per item and was established for the televised news broadcasts at an average of .97 and

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40 for the Web coverage at an average of .95, using Holstis formula.1 The item by item (category) reliability is reported in the sample codesheets, which are Appendices C and D. 1 Intercoder reliability will be calculated based on Holstis formula: IR=2M/(N1+N2), where M is the number of agreements between the coders, N1 is the total number of coding decisions made by Coder 1 and N2 is the total number of coding decisions made by Coder 2.

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This study employed a quantitative content analysis of televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi freedom. The overall goal was to determine the level and assessment of metacommunication in the media coverage about the 2003 war with Iraq. Analysis of News Stories All stories from March 20, 2003 through May 1, 2000 (N = 1,733) were coded and analyzed. This sample of media stories about the war consisted of taped evening televised news broadcasts (n = 751) and downloads of Web site coverage (n = 982). Televised News Broadcast Source Reliance Hypothesis one posited that televised news broadcasts would rely more on media sources than on independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The results indicate this was not the case. Overall, 3,875 sources were coded as being present in the televised news broadcasts during this study of the war coverage. Of these sources, 2,084 (54%) sources were listed as independent sources, and only 1,791 (46%) sources were listed as media sources for the televised news broadcasts about Operation Iraqi freedom. This means that the average number of independent sources in each newscast was 2.77, and the average number of media sources was only 2.38. This difference is statistically significant, t = 4.97, df = 750, p < .001. Thus hypothesis one was not supported. 41

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42 Web Coverage Source Reliance Hypothesis two posited that Web coverage would rely more on media sources than on independent sources in the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As with hypothesis one, the results indicate that this was not so. Overall, 7,005 sources were coded as being present in the Web coverage during this study of the war coverage. Of these sources, there were 5,100 (73%) sources listed as independent sources and only 1,905 (37%) sources listed as media sources for the Web coverage about Operation Iraqi freedom. This means that the average number of independent sources in each newscast was 5.19, and the average number of media sources was only 1.94. This difference is statistically significant, t = 25.83, df = 981, p < .001. Thus hypothesis two was not supported. Episodic and Thematic Frame Prevalence Hypothesis three posited that overall, the episodic media frame would be most prevalent during the initial stages of the war, and the thematic media frame would become more prevalent as the war progressed. In order to test this, all news stories from March 20 through May 1, were broken into three equal time periods: time one, March 20 through April 2; time two, April 3 through April 17; and time three, April 18 through May 1. Frequencies of the stories that were coded as having the presence of episodic and thematic frames were computed for each time period. The results indicate that across each of the three times, respectively, there were considerably more episodic frames present than thematic ones. At time one 96.6% of the frames were episodic and 0.04% were thematic; at time two 94.3% of the frames were episodic and 5.7% were thematic; and at time three 91.1% were episodic and 9.09% thematic. Thus hypothesis three was

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43 not supported. See Table 4-1 for a total of the episodic and thematic frames and a breakdown by time and frame/category relationship. Frame Prevalence Research question one asked what were the prevalent frames relied on in the media coverage of the war and if there were significant differences in the prevalence of these frames in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In order to answer this question a crosstabulation was computed to determine frequencies of the presence of the ten frames overall and by media channel. See Table 4-2. Overall, the most prevalent frames, from highest to lowest presence, were military conflict, metacommunication, human interest, diagnostic, prognostic, rebuilding of Iraq, protest, economic consequences, American patriotism, and responsibility. The patterns of prevalence for the two media channels compared in this study follow closely in order with slight deviations, but these differences were not significant. For televised news broadcasts, the most prevalent frames, from highest to lowest presence, were military conflict, metacommunication, human interest, diagnostic, rebuilding of Iraq, prognostic, protest, American patriotism, economic consequences, and responsibility. For Web coverage, the most prevalent frames, from highest to lowest presence, were military conflict, metacommunication, human interest, rebuilding of Iraq, diagnostic, economic consequences, protest, prognostic, American patriotism, and responsibility.

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Table 4-1. Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time All Items Time One Time Two Time Three (n = 4,186) (n = 1,729) (n = 1,789) (n = 668) Frames Episodic Thematic Episodic Thematic Episodic Thematic Military Conflict 1,357 597 16 519 29 172 24 American Patriotism 124 48 4 52 3 15 2 Protest 181 76 11 55 4 33 2 Human Interest 589 199 11 248 20 99 12 Responsibility 65 23 2 23 5 8 4 Economic Consequences 126 61 4 38 2 16 5 Diagnostic 274 112 2 98 10 44 8 Prognostic 206 42 5 96 10 36 17 Rebuilding of Iraq 254 32 4 120 6 81 11 Metacommunication 1,104 466 10 436 15 169 8 44 Total 4,186 1,656 73 1,685 104 585 83 (96%) (4%) (94%) (6%) (88%) (12%)

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45 Metacommunication Frame Prevalence Research question two asked how prevalent was the metacommunication frame in comparison to the other frames in the media coverage of the war and if this comparison was significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As Table 4-2 also shows, the Metacommunication frame was a very prevalent frame in both the media channels. In fact 63% of the televised news broadcasts and 65% of the Web stories include some type of metacommunication frame. However, there was no statistically significant difference in amount of metacommunication frames relied on between the Web and television news coverage. Table 4-2. Frame Prevalence in Stories by Media Channel Television News Web All Broadcasts Coverage Items 2 (n = 2,290) (n = 2,030) (n = 4,320) Military Conflict 79% 78% 1,361 .29 American Patriotism 8 7 125 .28 Protest 12 10 183 1.49 Human Interest 41 30 599 20.64** Responsibility 4 4 66 .37 Economic Consequences 4 10 130 21.69** Diagnostic 22 11 277 38.71** Prognostic 15 10 208 12.80 Rebuilding of Iraq 17 14 259 3.60 Metacommunication 63 65 1,112 .32 **p < .001 Frame Prevalence over Time Research question three asked if the prevalence of certain frames changed over time in the media coverage of the war and if there were significant differences in the prevalence of these frames in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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46 In terms of frame prevalence over time one, time two, and time three, there is a slight increase in overall frames relied on in time two, as compared with time one, and then there is a dramatic decrease in frame presence in time three. Most frames stayed consistent, in terms of their prevalence over time, as compared with their prevalence overall. There were, however, a several noteworthy differences in specific shifts in frame prevalence over time. Both the protest and economic consequences frames dropped to the least two prevalent frames in time two, as compared to their respectively higher positions during time one, but they leveled out to a moderate position during time three. The most significant pattern of change over time was the steadily increasing presence of the rebuilding of Iraq frame. In terms of media channel comparisons of frame prevalence by time, most of the 10 frames were fairly evenly distributed among the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage across time one, time two, and time three and in keeping with the overall pattern. Overall, the most prevalent frames across the three time periods were military conflict and metacommunication, which remained at high percentages across all three times. However, two frames that were different at statistically significant levels of p < .05 among the media channels across time were the prognostic and rebuilding of Iraq frames. An interesting difference was the pattern of the presence of the prognostic frame, which was relatively low at 23% during time one, rising to 51% at time two, and then dropped to 26% at time three. Another noteworthy deviation was the rebuilding of Iraq frame which similarly was also low at 14% for time one, 50% at time two, and then also dropped to 36% at time three. See Table 4-4 for a total of the frames over three time periods and a comparison of these totals by media channel.

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47 Metacommunication Frame Prevalence over Time Research question four asked if the prevalence of the metacommunication frame, in comparison to the other frames, changed over time in the media coverage of the war and if this change was significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As table 4-4 also shows, the metacommunication frame remained the second most prevalent frame during all three time periods, and there was no statistically significant difference in its prevalence between the media channels. Types of Metacommunication Frames Research question five asked if there were more cases of self-reflexive or strategy/process types of metacommunication frames in the media coverage of the war and if the amount of these cases was significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. To consider these issues a crosstabulation was calculated between the two types of metacommunication frames and the two media channels analyzed in this study of the war. The results indicate that the self-reflexive metacommunication frame was more prevalent than the strategy/process metacommunication frame for both the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. See Table 4-3. Table 4-3. Self-Reflexive and Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames by Media Televised News Web Coverage All Items Broadcasts (n = 472) (n = 635) (n = 1,107) ________________________________________________________________________ Self-Reflexive 62% 60% 61% Strategy/Process 38 40 39

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Table 4-4. Frames Relied on in Stories Covering Operation Iraqi Freedom across Three Periods of Time and by Media Channel Frames Time One Time Two Time Three 2 (N = 4,320) (n = 1,642) (n = 1,858) (n = 820) Military Conflict (n = 1,361) 45% 41% 14% 223.36** Televised News Broadcasts 46 40 14 Web Coverage 44 41 15 .81 American Patriotism (n = 125) 42 45 13 22.10** Televised News Broadcasts 39 46 15 Web Coverage 44 44 12 .61 Protest (n = 183) 48 33 19 22.16** Televised News Broadcasts 48 30 22 Web Coverage 47 36 17 1.25 Human Interest (n = 599) 36 46 18 66.45** Televised News Broadcasts 34 46 20 Web Coverage 38 45 17 1.52 Responsibility (n = 66) 38 44 18 7.18** Televised News Broadcasts 35 42 23 Web Coverage 40 46 14 .76 Economic Consequences (n = 130) 52 32 16 25.68** 48 Televised News Broadcasts 51 26 23 Web Coverage 53 43 13 1.47 Diagnostic (n = 277) 42 39 19 26.69** Televised News Broadcasts 40 47 23 Web Coverage 44 44 12 5.86 Prognostic (n = 208) 23 51 26 31.05** Televised News Broadcasts 16 53 31 Web Coverage 31 49 20 7.57* Rebuilding of Iraq (n = 259) 14 50 36 48.91** Televised News Broadcasts 7 52 41 Web Coverage 21 47 32 10.38* Metacommunication (n = 1,112) 43 41 16 151.28** Televised News Broadcasts 42 40 18 Web Coverage 42 42 16 3.20 *Chi square test indicate differences among time one, time two, and time three for the frame at p < .05. **Chi square test indicate that the difference between television and Web coverage is different for time one, time two, and time three at = p < .05.

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49 Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Frames Research question six asked what types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if reliance on these types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In order to answer this question, a crosstabulation was calculated between the self-reflexive metacommunication frame types and the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war. Table 4-5. Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Types by Media Channel Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage Total (n = 295) (n = 383) (n = 678) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage .3% .8% .6% Anchors or Media Personalities Discussing their Opinions 7 2 4 Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War 14 8 11 Reporters Reporting about Journalists from their Organization or Network 46 25 34 Reporters Reporting about Journalist from other Organizations or Networks 14 17 15 News Media Emphasizing their Role as Participant in Event 6 7 6 Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media 8 37 24 Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing 5 4 5 2 = 93.74, df = 7, p < .001. However, this chi square calculation should be interpreted with caution since some cells have values of less than 5.

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50 Table 4-5 shows, the most frequently used self-reflexive frame involved "reporters reporting about journalists from their own organization or network," which made up 34% of the total self-reflexive frames. The frame in which the media engaged in "cross promotion and cross referencing of media" also occurred frequently (24%). An interesting outlier here is the low prevalence of the "role of technology," which showed up much more frequently in the Kaid et al. (1994) study of CNN coverage of the 1991 Gulf War. However, the chi square test indicates that the pattern of self-reflexive frames was not the same between media (see Table 4-5). For instance, whereas the most frequently used self-reflexive frame in television news broadcasts was the "reporters reporting about journalists from their own organization or network" (46%), Web coverage used the "cross promotion and cross refereeing of media" (37%) more often. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames Research question seven asked what types of strategy/process metacommunication frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if reliance on these types of strategy/process metacommunication frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In order to answer this question, a crosstabulation was calculated between the strategy/process metacommunication frame types and the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war. Chi square tests indicate the strategy/process metacommunication frames were not highly similar between the media channels, and the reliance on these frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi

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51 Freedom. See Table 4-6 for a comparison of the prevalence of the strategy/process metacommunication frames by televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war. Table 4-6. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Types by Media Channel Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage All Items (n = 177) (n = 252) (n = 429) Pentagon Information Strategy 9% 7% 8% White House/ Bush Administration Information Strategy 26 26 26 Military Officials/Troops Information Strategy 24 25 26 Partisan Information Source Strategy 4 11 8 Bush Administration and News Media Relationships and Interactions 6 18 13 Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press Briefings 6 9 11 Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage 12 2 6 Influence of PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists 14 9 11 2 = 41.98, df = 7, p < .001. However, this chi square calculation should be interpreted with caution since some cells have values of less than 5. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories Research question eight asked which category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalentthe adversarial, educational or neutral in the media coverage of the war and if the prevalence of these three categories of the strategy/process metacommunication frames was significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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52 Overall, the educational category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalent (46%), the neutral category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was second-most prevalent (36%), and the adversarial category of the strategy process metacommunication frame was least prevalent (18%). For the televised news broadcasts of the war, the neutral category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalent, with the educational category being second-most prevalent, and the adversarial category being the least prevalent. For the Web coverage of the war, the educational category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was most prevalent, with the neutral category being second-most prevalent, and the adversarial category being the least prevalent. In comparing the prevalence of these three categories of the strategy/process metacommunication frame by media channel, the most striking difference is the much larger number of educational strategy/process metacommunication frames present in the Web coverage as compared to a much smaller number being present in the televised news coverage. When calculating a chi square statistical analysis, the results indicate that these three categories of the strategy/process metacommunication frames were significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. See Table 4-7 for a comparison of this category by media. Episodic and Thematic Frame Media Comparisons Nonetheless, Table 4-9 presents the results of analysis of the difference in the episodic/thematic pattern between media over time. Table 4-9 shows that, overall, the prevalence of episodic and thematic frames across all three time spans (as broken down in the testing of Hypothesis 3) was similar for both television news and Web coverage of the war. As shown before, the pattern clearly illustrates a dominance of episodic frames

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53 over thematic frames at the beginning, middle, and end of the war. Only one frame shows a departure from this pattern, the "responsibility" frame. This frame was covered by television news through all three time periods as an episodic theme, but Web coverage, which followed television's lead in the beginning and middle time periods, focused its responsibility frame coverage on a more thematic level in the ending (third) time period. Table 4-7. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Categories by Media Televised News Web Coverage Total Broadcasts (n = 172) (n = 257) (n = 429) ________________________________________________________________________ Adversarial 26% 14% 18% Educational 30 56 46 Neutral 44 30 36 2 = 27.77, df = 2, p < .01 The ninth research question concerned whether the pattern of episodic and thematic frames over time as the war progressed was different between television news broadcasts and Web coverage. This question was originally posed in line with the assumption that the third hypothesis would prove true--that is, that episodic frames would be more prevalent in the beginning of the war, progressing toward greater prevalence of thematic coverage as the war progressed. However, this hypothesis was not substantiated, since episodic coverage remained the overwhelmingly dominant frame type throughout all three war coverage time periods tested.

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54 Bush Administration Public Information Assessments Research question 10 asked how were the Bush administration's public information efforts assessed in the media coverage of the war and if these assessments were significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage. Over half (57%) of the total stories did not discuss the Bush Administration public information efforts; these stories were omitted from analysis for this question. The remaining 263 stories were rated as positive, negative, or neutral in regard to their coverage of the Bush Administration efforts. As Table 4-8 shows, the overall percentage of these stories portrayed the Bush Administration information efforts as neutral (50%), and the remainder were categorized as 45% positive and 5% negative. However, again looking at Table 4-8, it is clear that there is a difference in how the Bush information efforts fared in the television versus Web media. While television gave the Bush efforts a positive score in 45% of such stories, the Web only registered a positive evaluation in 27%. Likewise, the Web coverage was more likely to be negative toward the Bush Administration information efforts, casting a negative view in 9% of its stories with this frame. Table 4-8. Bush Administration Public Information Efforts Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage Total n = 351) (n = 389) (n = 740) Positive 45% 27% 36% Negative 5 9 7 Neutral 50 64 57 = 30.18, df = 2, p < .001

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Table 4-9. Episodic and Thematic Frames across Three Periods of Time and by Media Channel Frames All Items Time One Time Two Time Three (N = 4,186) Episodic Thematic Episodic Thematic Episodic Thematic 2 Military Conflict (n = 1,357) 97% 3% 95% 5% 88% 12% Television News Broadcast 92 2 95 5 92 8 Web Coverage 96 4 94 6 88 12 .04 American Patriotism (n = 124) 92 8 94 6 88 12 Television News Broadcast 100 0 92 8 89 11 Web Coverage 87 13 97 3 88 12 .62 Protest (n = 181) 87 13 93 7 94 6 Television News Broadcast 93 7 100 0 89 11 Web Coverage 82 18 88 12 100 0 2.62 Human Interest (n = 589) 95 5 93 7 89 11 Television News Broadcast 98 2 94 6 90 10 Web Coverage 92 8 91 9 88 12 3.67 Responsibility (n = 65) 92 8 82 18 67 33 Television News Broadcast 100 0 92 8 100 0 Web Coverage 86 14 73 17 20 80 7.91* 55 Economic Consequences (n = 126) 94 6 95 5 76 24 Television News Broadcast 100 0 88 12 86 14 Web Coverage 92 8 94 6 71 29 .52 Diagnostic (n = 274) 98 2 91 9 85 15 Television News Broadcast 100 0 95 5 85 15 Web Coverage 96 4 85 15 85 15 2.19 Prognostic (n = 206) 89 11 89 11 68 32 Television News Broadcast 89 11 90 10 74 26 Web Coverage 90 10 88 12 56 44 2.54 Rebuilding of Iraq (n = 254) 89 11 94 6 87 13 Television News Broadcast 78 22 94 6 90 10 Web Coverage 93 7 93 7 83 17 .84 Metacommunication (n = 1,104) 98 2 97 3 94 6 Television News Broadcast 98 2 97 3 97 3 Web Coverage 92 2 97 3 94 6 .19 *Chi square = p < .05

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56 Iraq Government Public Information Assessments Research question 11 asked how were the Iraqi government's public information efforts assessed in the media coverage of the war and if these assessments were significantly different in the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage. Over half (73%) of the total stories did not discuss the Iraqi government public information efforts; these stories were omitted from analysis for this question. The remaining 442 stories were rated as positive, negative, or neutral in regard to their coverage of the Iraqi government efforts. As Table 4-10 shows, the overall percentage of these stories portrayed the Iraqi government information efforts as negative (63%), and the remainder were categorized as 33% neutral and 4% positive. However, again looking at Table 4.11, it is clear that there is a difference in how the Iraqi government fared in the television versus Web media. While television gave the Iraqi government efforts a negative evaluation in 61% of such stories, the Web registered a negative evaluation in 66%. However, the Web coverage was more likely to be more positive toward the Iraqi government information efforts, casting a negative view in 7% of its stories with this frame, as compared to television coverage of only 2%. Table 4-10. Iraqi Government Public Information Efforts Televised News Broadcasts Web Coverage Total n = 278) (n = 164) (n = 442) Positive 2% 7% 4% Negative 61 66 63 Neutral 37 27 33 = 11.51, df = 2 p < .05

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This exploratory study sought to extend the metacommunication concept that has been previously used almost exclusively for the analyses of political campaign coverage to the media coverage of a war. The current study advanced the research in the area of metacommunication not only by examining this communications practice in a different context, but also by analyzing both televised news broadcasts and Web coverage which have largely been overlooked in prior research in this area. Findings and Implications Chapter fours reporting of the results directly addressed each hypothesis and research question. This chapter elaborates on these results categorically, through the use of examples to illustrate the findings and to discuss the implications thereof. Additionally, this chapter examines how these findings may be linked to the bigger picture of the theoretical underpinnings and prior research that were detailed in chapter twos review of the literature and to see how this studys findings build on an understanding of these perspectives. Finally, limitations of this study are acknowledged and goals for future research set. Source Reliance Despite the fact that overall both media relied on independent sources more than media ones, it is important to note that the percentages do point to a substantial tendency on the part of the media to rely on media sources. Whereas the numbers indicating independent sources in the lead may be looked at as a somewhat encouraging finding in 57

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58 terms of the role of the journalist, especially in terms of the key concept of independence and objectivity, the extent to which the media sources are used is still a troubling finding in both media channels examined in this study. While the finding that out of the 3,875 sources relied on in the televised news broadcasts during this study of the war coverage consisted of 2,084 (54%) independent sources and 1,791 (46%) media sources might show statistical significance, it is still not something that points to a lack of media narcissism or self-reflexivity. Reliance on such a large number of media sources in the televised news broadcasts during Operation Iraqi Freedom is a noteworthy finding that indicates that the TV news media do become participants in the stories they are covering and to a rather alarming extent. However, the finding that out of the 7,005 sources relied on in the Web coverage during this study of the war coverage consisted of 5,100 (73%) independent sources 1,905 (37%) media sources is not only statistically significant, it is also something that does point toward a decrease in the medias preoccupation with itself. The large amount of independent sources, which is almost double the amount of media sources being relied on in the Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is an important finding that indicates that the Web as a media channel is less likely to insert media practitioners into the stories they are reporting. The difference between source reliance by media channel was not a comparison that was an explicit goal of this study, as evidenced by the fact that the study hypothesized that both televised news broadcasts and Web coverage would rely on media sources to a greater degree than on independent sources. These assumptions were not supported, and the differences in the source reliance by these two media channels is

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59 important and deserves further analysis with the data collected for this study and in future research efforts. Episodic and Thematic Frames The results regarding the presence of episodic and thematic frames and their shifting over time from episodic frames being prevalent initially and thematic frames becoming dominant over time was an assumption this study made based on prior research. The results of this study indicate that this assumption was largely erroneous and was a surprising finding. The results of the comparison of the episodic and thematic frame prevalence over the three time periods yielded drastically differing results than were expected. The sheer volume and amount of difference in the percentages are staggering: with time one having 96.6% episodic frames and only a negligible 0.04% thematic frames; time two having 94.3% episodic frames and a slight increase to 5.7% thematic frames; and time three having 91.1% episodic frames and another minimal increase to 9.09% thematic frames. While the episodic frame slightly decreased during each time period and the thematic frame rose minimally, these results are a paradoxical finding that bears further exploration. However, one possible explanation of this finding is the fact that Web coverage is closer to print coverage than televised news and that print sources possibly tend to be more thematic than episodic. The finding that the prevalence of episodic and thematic frames by media channel indicated similar patterns of frame dominance across time in both the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage indicate that these results cannot be attributed to channel variance. With the only one instance of a statistically significant difference (the responsibility frame) reported during the all three time periods analyzed, these findings of

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60 episodic frame dominance can be seen as overwhelmingly similar across both time and media. The implications of these findings of episodic prevalence and only a slight thematic increase bear further scrutiny. While this was a short official war, the patterns of coverage are so extremely variant that the compressed period of time overall and the context seem like overly simplistic explanations for this finding. It is possible that the reason for this outcome has to do more with changes in media coverage overall. Since the media systems are far more complex and increasingly becoming more so, it is perhaps a change in media coverage style in general that explains why the episodic to thematic dominance over time was not supported in this study. With so many media options available to the news consumer, media outlets may be leaning to shorter, episodic coverage that focuses more on specific events and individuals (which is more evocative and perhaps easily digested) instead of broader, thematic coverage that focuses more on issues and implications (which is less sensational and requires more processing) in attempts to keep the publics tuned in to their given station or remaining on their given Web site. With the shorter sound bite and a generation used to fast-paced MTV-style editing, and many Web users who can fairly be characterized as having short attention spans to the point of being ADD, the media outlets are well aware that keeping individuals engaged can often be accomplished by providing more simplistic, dramatic, and event-driven news stories than complex, analytical, and thoughtful ones. This finding is open to different interpretations, but it clearly deserves more analysis with the coverage of this war and in other contexts, in order to continue to test assumption that episodic frames will give way to thematic ones over time.

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61 Frame Prevalence In terms of establishing the prevalent frames in the media coverage of the war, and if there were significant differences in the prevalence of these frames in war coverage, the rank order of frame prevalence from highest to lowest were military conflict, metacommunication, human interest, diagnostic, prognostic, rebuilding of Iraq, protest, economic consequences, American patriotism, and responsibility. As reported earlier, the patterns of prevalence for the two media channels compared in this study follow closely in order but with slight deviations, but these differences were not significant. While the military conflict frame was the most prevalent frame overall and in both the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage, the metacommunication frame was the second-most prevalent frame overall and in both the media channels, with 63% of the televised news broadcasts and 65% of the Web stories include some type of metacommunication frame. The sheer volume of metacommunication frame presence in both media channels is a finding that is striking for several reasons. While military conflict was the most prevalent frame, it was a frame that included a broad number of scenarios that dealt with actual conflict and events in the war in general. The other eight frames ranged from very specific, such as American patriotism, human interest, diagnostic, and prognostic to broad, such as economic consequences, protest, responsibility, and rebuilding of Iraq. The military conflict frame was present at 79% for televised news broadcasts and at 78% for Web coverage followed by the metacommunication frame which was present at 63% for televised news broadcasts and at 65% for Web coverage. These were the two highest types of frames that were followed by human interest which was present at 43%

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62 for televised news broadcasts and at 30% for Web coverage. The remaining frames were present in both media channels from a high of 22% to a low of 4%. The high level of metacommunication prevalence is a key finding of this study. It indicates that other than broad military conflict information the media are indeed relying on providing coverage that is self-reflexive and emphasizing the strategy/process nature of the media and the public information efforts much more than they are the events, issues, and people involved in the military conflict. It is also significant to note that the level of metacommunication frame prevalence was extremely close in both the TV and Web coverage, and this is not a finding that was limited to just one of the media channels. Examples of episodic frames where abundant in stories from both media, and certainly the use of embedded reporters during Operation Iraqi Freedom is a reason that could have led to such coverage. From the Jessica Lynch rescue, to the toppling of the Statue of Saddam Hussein, to the day-to-day activities of the U.S. military personnel, to President Bushs parachute landing and official declaration of the end of the war, embedded reporters were right there telling this unfolding story. This unprecedented access given to the media created a situation in which reporters were not only more like participants, the also became daily storytellers who would tend to focus on incidents and events, rather than broader issues. Additionally, the finding that the metacommunication frame remained the second most prevalent frame during all three time periods, and there was not a statistically significant difference in its prevalence between the media channels during time one, time two, or time three further underscores the indication that metacommunication frames

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63 have become a standby in media coverage, even from the onset to the resolution of a war and at every stage of the conflict. Metacommunication Frames This study additionally sought to determine which types of metacommunication frames were more prevalent: if there we more cases of self-reflexive metacommunication or strategy/process frames present in the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The results of this indicate that the self-reflexive type of metacommunication frame, in which media frequently insert themselves into the coverage and evaluate their role in the news process was largely the dominant type of metacommunication frame as compared to the strategy/process metacommunication frame, in which the media often report on the interplay between public information efforts and the resulting media coverage. It is a significant finding that the self-reflexive metacommunication frame, which is in many ways the epitome of media narcissism, is the dominant metacommunication frame for both media channels. The self reflexive frame is often characterized by coverage that is inane and vacuous as television news anchors, Web story authors, and other media players chatter about their opinions and roles in the news, instead of actually even conveying any substantive news at all. It is perhaps surprising that the strategy/process frame was present at a statistically significantly lower amount for both the televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of the war. The strategy/process news frame can often contain information that actually informs the news consumer about events, even though it does commonly emphasize the negative relationship between political public relations practitioners and the press in the news gathering and reporting process.

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64 Examples of stories that were coded as having the strategy/process frame varied in content and in type of strategy/process category, but perhaps one of the most blatant of such frames was the coverage of President Bushs landing on the USS Lincoln. All media analyzed in this study covered that specific, orchestrated public-information event. Other such coverage ranged from reporters commenting on rallies and how the administration responded to them to the White House/Bush administration indicating frustration with the UN weapons inspectors. An interesting aspect of this finding is that prior literature in the area of political communication has often shown the strategy/process frame to be the prevalent form of metacommunication during election cycles. This exploratory study, however, found that conversely, during a time of wareven a controversial warthat strategy/process took second place to self-reflexivity. This finding helps advance understanding of metacommunication frames in contexts other than political campaigns, and while this should be explored in different contexts, this finding does indicate that the medias own favorite subject is in fact itself and reinforces the idea of media bias towards the media as the bias that one can expect to find in times of peace or conflict. Self-Reflexive Metacommunication Frames Another goal of this study was to assess what types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if reliance on these types of self-reflexive metacommunication frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Based on prior research, the eight types of self-reflexive metacommunication were coded for.

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65 Self-reflexive metacommunication frames were not similar between the media channels and the reliance on these frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As reported earlier, an interesting outlier in this finding was low prevalence of role of technology in attaining coverage. This is of note, as prior war coverage scholarship conducted by Kaid, et al. about the 1991 Gulf War and CNNs frequent mentions of its technology, which was a breakthrough study in metacommunication research, though not explicitly labeled as such at the time. There are several other results in comparison of media channels and the analysis of the self-reflexive metacommunication frame prevalence that deserve mention. For example, the most dominant self-reflexive frame for the Web coverage was cross promotion and cross referencing of the media, but this was a very low ranked item in the televised news broadcasts. However, reporters reporting about journalists from their organization or network came in first place for televised news broadcasts and second place for Web coverage. The other items differed widely in rank order, but were not largely different in the amounts of coverage per item. Examples of reporters interviewing embedded reporters in the field were frequently occurring types of self-reflexive coverage and a mainstay of the electronic war coverage analyzed in this study. Additionally, the televised broadcasts frequently included anchors and/or media personalities discussing their own opinions about the war, which ranged from commenting on protests to foreign policy to the future of Iraq. In addition to interviewing media celebrities and personalities within their own news organizations, the media also frequently interviewed media sources from other news

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66 organizations about both specific incidents and implications of the war. Again, this is not largely surprising, as certain major media outlets had access to more data and the actual troops, and the media sources offered perspectives that were not available through other independent sources that were not on the front line. The finding that cross promotion and cross referencing of the media was much higher in the Web coverage than TV news could be attributed to the structural differences between these media channels. Since the televised news broadcasts are highly structured in format and time constraints, as compared to the Web coverage that offer a practically infinite news hole and more coverage possibilities. Another items however, that is difficult to find explanations for its differences by media channel is the frame of reporters discussing their personal experiences of covering the war is more prevalent in TV than Web coverage, but it is unclear why this would be so. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frames Another goal of this study was to assess what types of strategy/process metacommunication frames were relied on in the media coverage of the war and if reliance on these types of strategy/process metacommunication frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Based on prior research, the eight types of strategy/process metacommunication were coded for. Overall, the strategy/process metacommunication frames were not highly correlated between the media channels and the reliance on these frames was significantly different in televised news broadcasts and Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. However there are two exceptions: both the White House/Bush administration information strategy and Military officials/troops information strategy were ranked as the

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67 top two most prevalent frames for the televised news broadcasts and the Web coverage the war. These were the only two strategy/process metacommunication frames that were correlated. There are several other results in comparison of media channels and the analysis of the strategy/process metacommunication frame prevalence that deserve mention. For example, the presence of the Bush administration and news media relationships and interactions frame was present twice as much in the Web coverage as compared to the TV news. While the results of this can be attributed to reasons discussed earlier about the channel differences, which could be one possible explanation for this and other differences, that is an almost counter intuitive finding and one that seems at odds with the results from prior research in the context of political campaigns. Once could actually have predicted the opposite would have been the case, that the Bush administration and news media relationships and interactions would have played out to a greater degree in the televised news broadcasts than in the stories about the war in the Web coverage. Another perplexing finding is that of the standards of the quality of the news coverage frame, which was present six times more in the televised news broadcasts than in the Web coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Given the time and structural constraints of the TV coverage as compared with the Webs, this finding is difficult to explain, as it is the exact opposite of what would have been expected. However, a possible explanation for this finding is that this one strategy/process frame is very closely associated with some of the self-reflexive types of coverage, and while this frame does assess the quality and standards of the news coverage, the substantive nature of such assessments is not evaluated in this study, and these frames can include incidents when

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68 anchors or reporters are discussing live and on the air the issues they are facing when trying to bring the viewer accurate and up-to-date information. For example, it was common in the televised news broadcasts for anchors or reporters to allude to domestic and international coverage while reporting the days events. Such media-assessment coverage included commenting on coverage from the controversial Al Jazeera to the traditional news sources, such as the BBC. Often televised media was self-referential, its anchors and reporters filled the news hole with chatter about themselves and their own networks quality of news gathering and dissemination during a time of war. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Categories Another layer to the analysis of the strategy/process metacommunication frames for this study was to categorize the presence of each type as being adversarial, educational, or neutral and to compare these findings by media channel. The results of this specific inquiry are central to the implications of this study of metacommunication prevalence in the media coverage of the war. Overall, the educational category was most prevalent, the neutral second, and the adversarial the least. This is a somewhat promising finding, and one that differs from a number of the prior studies in political campaigns when these categories were evaluated. For the televised broadcasts, the neutral category was most prevalent, the educational second, and the adversarial the least. In terms of Web coverage, the educational category was most prevalent, the neutral second, and the adversarial the least. The most typical example of such neutral coverage, for both media, was straight-forward and informative reporting of U.S. public information efforts, such as the release of reports, interviews, and press conferences. The negative coverage, which was the least

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69 offered of the these assessment categories tended to be humorous and critical of the Iraqi information officer referred to as Baghdad Bob and his denial of the serious nature of the U.S. assault on Iraq. The educational coverage tended to focus on U.S. public information efforts and to be objective and very direct in explaining how the government agencies and/or the White House gathered and released its data to both the media and the public. It is encouraging that the educational category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame emerged as a prevalent frame and the adversarial category was the least, both overall and by media channel. This implies that the strategy/process metacommunication frame can potentially be beneficial and enhance the news consumer and possible contribute to the public sphere (Habermas 1962/1989). In terms of channel comparisons, it is also worth noting that while the adversarial category of the strategy/process metacommunication frame was least present in both media, it was only four percent less prevalent than the educational category in the TV news, as compared to the Web coverage in which the adversarial category was 28 percent less prevalent than the educational category. Also, in comparing the amount of educational strategy/process metacommunication category presence between these two media channels it is significant that this category was much more prevalent in the Web coverage (56%) as compared with the (30%) prevalence in the televised news broadcasts. These findings are congruent with prior scholarship that indicates the Web may be a medium that is able to enhance the public sphere than other media; in terms of the range of voices and variety of sources it offers (Strommer-Galley, 2002; Williams & Martin, 2004).

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70 Public Information Assessment The study also sought to evaluate directly how the media were assessing the public information efforts of both the Bush administration and the Iraqi government. Not surprisingly, the findings indicate that the Bush administrations efforts were rated far more favorably than the Iraqi governments. It is interesting however that the Bush administrations communication efforts were mostly rated as neutral, as were a limited number of the Iraqi governments efforts. These findings, perhaps more than any of the others, can be attributed to the context of the media coverage. Unlike a political campaign, when one would expect more negative assessments, the context of this particular military campaign and its associations with the larger War on Terror that President Bush declared after the September 11 terrorist attacks would create an environment when being overly critical could be viewed as unpatriotic. In fact, prior research on this war has indicated that media personalities had to walk a fine line in critiquing the president or the military efforts, and that those who spoke out faced harsh censure (Williams, Martin, Trammell, Landreville, & Ellis, 2004). Limitations As with any study there are limitations, and the current study has several. By its very nature, this exploratory analysis that attempts to explicate the metacommunication concept and examine media narcissism and self-reflexivity in a war instead of a political campaign meant that prior assumptions and findings could only be considered benchmarks for assessments and not strict guidelines as the contextual issues were so great.

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71 This study is also limited in that it only analyzes two media: the Web and TV news. Additionally, visuals for both of these media were not coded and analyzed, and only the textual, verbal content was addressed. Future Research There are multiple directions in which this current study can lead, and as an exploratory analysis of metacommunication in a context other than a political campaign, this study will prove to be a springboard for a number of other studies. These studies will begin with the existing data that have been collected. Future work with these data will include conducting comparative analyses within the media channels compared here. For example, it ma be a worthwhile to further break out the data and see if there are statistically significant differences between the traditional and cable televised news broadcasts and similarly if there are differences between their coverage on their respective Web sites. Additional work with the existing data collected during Operation Iraqi Freedom include examining which sources were most frequently associated with given frames to see what patterns emerge, and to examine if and how these patterns are related to the media channels, the time periods, and the episodic and/or thematic frame characterizations, as well as other categories and subcategories of metacommunication frames. Beyond the work with the existing data, research on metacommunication should be extended to other types of media coverage. Such coverage can include the terror alerts that have been put in place over the past few years in the United States, coverage of religious/political issues, coverage of international crisis events such as the recent bombings in Spain, and coverage of political scandals.

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72 The opportunities to address metacommunication, media narcissism, and self-reflexive reporting are seemingly myriad, not only in terms of differing contexts but also in differing media outlets and areas of the world. Also, after considerably more work has been done with content analysis, experimental studies to measure the effects of metacommunication on respondents will provide further chances to advance understanding of this media practice. The findings of this study are, overall, troublesome and especially so in regard to journalistic objectivity. As the public does indeed rely on the media for factual information on a regular basis, the need for facts from the media during a time of crisis, such as war or terrorist attacks is paramount. The media have rights and responsibilities to the public are more vital than narcissistic and self-reflexive. The issues and events are much more important to the public than being educated about the news gathering process, and the relationship, and assessments thereof, between the media and political public relations consultants and/or public information officers is not one that serves the public interest. The media have been given a great deal of latitude and protection, and it is the medias duty to live up to these.

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APPENDIX A CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS Coder ID: Coders will input their three initials for identification purposes. Story Number: Each story will be given a unique four-digit number. Story Date: The date on which the story ran. Story Headline or Title: For TV News Stories, coders will indicate if there is a stated headline or title for the news segment or will give the story a title for the purpose of further referencing and locating the story. Type of Story: (1) TV News Broadcast TV News Story Origin: (1) ABC (2) CBS (3) CNN (4) FOX TV News Story Source(s): Coders are asked to identify the presence or absence of a number of sources from a predetermined listed based on prior research: (1) Storys Author; (2) Reporter; (3) Anonymous; (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group; (5) Military Expert; (6) Republican Political Pundit; (7) Democratic Political Pundit; (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit; (7) Media Personality from Same Network; (8) Media Personality from Other Organization; (9) Scholar/Media Critic; (10) Embedded Journalist; (11) Associated Press or other Wire Service; (12) Citizens; (13) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors; 73

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74 (14) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson; (15) Report/Document/Poling Data; (16) U.S. Military Officialsincluding any branch of the armed services; (17) Iraqi Dissidents; and (18) Other. If other and identifying this source in an open-ended area on the codesheet. TV News Story Length (Minutes and Seconds): For TV coverage a story is marked by a distinct beginning and ending of a central topic area (i.e., public information, White House communications strategy, Removal of Saddam/Regime change, etc.). A story may contain numerous sources and information related to the central topic, and until there is a distinct shift in topic area, the coders will consider a unit of time devoted to one central topic a single story. In order to determine this, coders will watch videotaped TV news coverage, identify the beginning and ending of a story, watch it again and time it using a stop watch to determine the length of the story. The coders will then watch the story for a third time in order to focus on the manifest verbal content of the story before coding it. Total Speakers/Sources Relied on for the Story: Coders will write in the total number of sources relied on for the story based on a total the above coded categories. This number should equal the totaled speakers/sources noted in the previous question. Number of Independent and Media Sources: Coders are then asked to determine the number of Independent and Media Sources relied on in the story. An independent source is an individual or group that is not clearly identified as being a part of the media. A media source is identified as an individual or group that is clearly a member of the media. Anchor Direction of Content: For TV News Stories with an Anchor present, who does the Anchor Direct the Viewer To?

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75 Media Cross Promotion: Do the TV News Stores direct viewers to their Web sites or other media coverage? If yes, coders will indicate where viewers are being directed. Frames: Coders are asked to determine the presence or absence of the following list of frames, based on prior research, and to indicate if this frame is best characterized as being episodic or thematic. Additionally, coders are asked to indicate which of the sources from the above list discussed the content associated with these frames by writing the identification number of the source(s) in the space provided. The list of frames coded for are: The list of frames coded for are: (1) Military Conflictframes that emphasize the military battle itself on macro or micro levels; (2) American Patriotismframes that emphasize citizens rallying around the flag and a resurgence of American patriotism in various manifestations; (3) Protestframes that show individuals our groups, in the U.S. or abroad protesting or the discussion of protest of the war; (4) Human Interestframes that emphasize the human element of the war, including soldiers and any citizens; (5) Responsibilityframes that assign responsibility for the military conflict to a given individual, government, or regime; (6) Economic Consequencesframes that focus on the either short or long-term economic consequences that the war will have domestically, in the Middle East, or internationally; (7) Diagnosticframes that emphasize an assessment of how and why this military conflict developed; (8) Prognosticframes that emphasize what outcome of the military conflict will be, including the removal of Saddam/regime change, regional stability, loss of U.S. soldiers, etc.; (9) Rebuilding of Iraqframes that specifically deal with the rebuilding of Iraqi and the future of the country and its people after the war is finished; and (10) Metacommunicationa frame that emphasizes either the medias self-reflexivity or the communication process between

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76 sources and the news media. (In addition to listing the source of the metacommunication, coders are also asked to indicate the subject of the metacommunication, e.g., the Bush Administration.) Metacommunication Frame Presence: If the metacommunication frame is present, coders are instructed to indicate which of the above frames areas the metacommunication directly relate to by filling in the identification number of the frame(s) in the space provided. Metacommunication Frames: The dissertation is designed to determine the extent to which metacommunication frames were relied upon by the media during the reporting of a military campaign. For purposes of this dissertation, metacommunication is defined as the news medias self-reflexive coverage of itself in a general sense and of the interplay between the Bush administrations or Iraqi governments public information about Operation Iraqi Freedom and the TV News and Web sites resulting coverage. Metacommunication Frame Type: The concept of metacommunication is further is broken down into two distinct areas: self-reflexive reporting and strategy/process news. For purposes of this dissertation the two differing types of metacommunication will be treated as mutually exclusive categories stories will be coded as being characterized either one or the other type of metacommunication, not both If the metacommunication frame is coded as being present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes the type of metacommunication present: (1) Self Reflexive or (2) Strategy/Process. Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If the Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes it: (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage; (2) Anchors or Media

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77 Personalities Discussing their Opinions; (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War; (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News Organization, Network, or Publication; (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from another News Organization, Network, or Publications; (6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event; (7) Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media; or (8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes it: (1) Pentagon Information Strategy; (2) White House/Bush Administration Information Strategy; (3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy; (4) Partisan Information Source Strategy; (5) Bush Administration-News Media Relationship and/or Interactions; (6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press Briefings; (7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage; and (8) Influence of PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Classification: If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes it: (1) Adversarial; (2) Educational; or (3) Neutral.. Adversarial types of strategy/process frames would include stories that negative label that implies manipulation or the use of ploys in the communication process as spin or call source information a sound bite. The neutral type of strategy/process frame is one in which there is no negative or positive slant to the communication process but instead just states the occurrence of a transferal of information from source to the media. The educational type

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78 of strategy/process frame is one in which the viewer would actually learn something about the communication process between the source and the media but is without any negative connotations and is, instead, unbiased and is clearly informative about the process. Assessment of the Bush Administrations Public Information Efforts: Coders will indicate the Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administrations Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that are used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided. Assessment of the Iraqi governments Administrations Public Information Efforts: Coders will indicate the Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi governments Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that are used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided.

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APPENDIX B CODEBOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE Coder ID: Coders will input their three initials for identification purposes. Story Number: Coders will give each story will be a unique four-digit number. Story Date: Coders will indicate the original date on which the story ran using a six-digit number (e.g., 040203 for April, 2, 2003) Story Headline: Coders will either write the exact headline that was associated with each story. Type of Story: (2) Web Coverage Web site News Story Origin: (1) ABC (2) CBS (3) CNN (4) FOX Web News Story Length: Coders will list the length of the story based on a word count, including the headline and sub-head. Web site Story Source Attribution: Coders are asked to identify the presence or absence of a number of sources from a predetermined listed based on prior research: (1) Storys Author; (2) Reporter; (3) Anonymous; (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group; (5) Military Expertnot current personnel; (6) Republican Political Pundit; (7) Democratic Political Pundit; (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit; (7) Media Personality from Same 79

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80 Network; (8) Media Personality from Other Organization; (9) Scholar/Media Critic; (10) Embedded Journalist; (11) Associated Press or other Wire Service; (12) Citizens; (13) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors; (14) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson; (15) Report/Document/Poling Data; (16) U.S. Military Officialsincluding any branch of the armed services; (17) Iraqi Dissidents; and (18) Other. If other and identifying this source in an open-ended area on the codesheet. Total Sources Relied on for the Story: Coders will write in the total number of sources relied on for the story based on a total the above coded categories. This number should equal the totaled sources noted in the previous question. Hyperlinks: Coders will indicate how many subject hyperlinks that relate to Operation Iraqi freedom are present. Internal Hyperlinks: Coders will indicate how many of these are subject hyperlinks are internal hyperlinks that keep the user within the site. External Hyperlinks: Coders will indicate how many of these are subject hyperlinks are external hyperlinks that send the user outside the site. External Hyperlink Destinations: The URLs for the external subject hyperlinks will be noted in order to determine where the site sending the user. Frames: Coders are asked to determine the presence or absence of the following list of frames, based on prior research, and to indicate if this frame is best characterized as being episodic or thematic. Additionally, coders are asked to indicate which of the sources from the above list discussed the content associated with these frames by writing the identification number of the source(s) in the space provided. The list of frames coded for are: (1) Military Conflictframes that emphasize the military battle itself on macro

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81 or micro levels; (2) American Patriotismframes that emphasize citizens rallying around the flag and a resurgence of American patriotism in various manifestations; (3) Protestframes that show individuals our groups, in the U.S. or abroad protesting or the discussion of protest of the war; (4) Human Interestframes that emphasize the human element of the war, including soldiers and any citizens; (5) Responsibilityframes that assign responsibility for the military conflict to a given individual, government, or regime; (6) Economic Consequencesframes that focus on the either short or long-term economic consequences that the war will have domestically, in the Middle East, or internationally; (7) Diagnosticframes that emphasize an assessment of how and why this military conflict developed; (8) Prognosticframes that emphasize what outcome of the military conflict will be, including the removal of Saddam/regime change, regional stability, loss of U.S. soldiers, etc.; (9) Rebuilding of Iraqframes that specifically deal with the rebuilding of Iraqi and the future of the country and its people after the war is finished; and (10) Metacommunicationa frame that emphasizes either the medias self-reflexivity or the communication process between sources and the news media (In addition to listing the source of the metacommunication, coders are also asked to indicate the subject of the metacommunication, e.g., the Bush Administration.) Metacommunication Frame Presence: If the metacommunication frame is present, coders are instructed to indicate which of the above frames areas the metacommunication directly relate to by filling in the identification number of the frame(s) in the space provided. Metacommunication Frames: The dissertation is designed to determine the extent to which metacommunication frames were relied upon by the media during the reporting

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82 of a military campaign. For purposes of this dissertation, metacommunication is defined as the news medias self-reflexive coverage of itself in a general sense and of the interplay between the Bush administrations or Iraqi governments public information about Operation Iraqi Freedom and the TV News and Web sites resulting coverage. Metacommunication Frame Type: The concept of metacommunication is further is broken down into two distinct areas: self-reflexive reporting and strategy/process news. For purposes of this dissertation the two differing types of metacommunication will be treated as mutually exclusive categories stories will be coded as being characterized either one or the other type of metacommunication, not both If the metacommunication frame is coded as being present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes the type of metacommunication present: (1) Self Reflexive or (2) Strategy/Process. Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If the Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes it: (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage; (2) Anchors or Media Personalities Discussing their Opinions; (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War; (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News Organization, Network, or Publication; (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from another News Organization, Network, or Publications; (6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event; (7) Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media; or (8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Characteristics: If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the

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83 following best characterizes it: (1) Pentagon Information Strategy; (2) White House/Bush Administration Information Strategy; (3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy; (4) Partisan Information Source Strategy; (5) Bush Administration-News Media Relationship and/or Interactions; (6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press Briefings; (7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage; and (8) Influence of PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists. Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame Classification: If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, indicate which one of the following best characterizes it: (1) Adversarial; (2) Educational; or (3) Neutral. Types of strategy/process metacommunication news frames: This dissertation will additionally evaluate strategy/process news on another sub-level distinctionthis characterization is either adversarial or educational strategy/process news. Adversarial types of strategy/process frames would include stories that negative label that implies manipulation or the use of ploys in the communication process as spin or call source information a sound bite. The neutral type of strategy/process frame is one in which there is no negative or positive slant to the communication process but instead just states the occurrence of a transferal of information from source to the media. The educational type of strategy/process frame is one in which the viewer would actually learn something about the communication process between the source and the media but is without any negative connotations and is, instead, unbiased and is clearly informative about the process. Assessment of the Bush Administrations Public Information Efforts: Coders will indicate the Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administrations Public

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84 Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that are used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided. Assessment of the Iraqi governments Administrations Public Information Efforts: Coders will indicate the Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi governments Public Information Efforts from the following list: (1) Positive; (2) Negative; (3) Neutral; or (4) Not Applicable. Additionally, coders are asked to list key words, terms, or phrases that are used to describe the administration and its communication strategies as open-ended information in the space provided.

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APPENDIX C CODESHEET OF CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TELEVISED NEWS BROADCASTS Coder: __ __ __ Story Number __ __ __ __ Story Date: __ __ __ __ __ __ (Reliability 1.00) Story Headline or Title: (Reliability 1.00) Type of Story: (1) TV News Broadcast TV News Story/Segment Origin: (Reliability 1.00) (1) ABC (2) CBS (3) CNN (4) FOX TV News Story Length (Minutes and Seconds) (Reliability .75) TV News Story Speaker(s)/Source(s): (1) Anchor Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (2) Reporter Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (3) Anonymous Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (5) Military Expert (Not Current Personnel) Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (6) Republican Political Pundit Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (7) Democratic Political Pundit Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (9) Media Personality from Same Network Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (10) Media Personality from Other Organization Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (11) Scholar/Media Critic Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (12) Embedded Journalist Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (13) Associated Press or other Wire Service Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (14) Citizens Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (15) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (16) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability .75) (17) Report/Document/Poling Data Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (18) U.S. Military Official(s) Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (19) Iraqi Dissidents Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (20) Other Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) If other, what individual(s) or group(s) were relied on as a source? (Reliability 1.00) 85

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86 How Many Total Speakers/Sources Were Relied on for the Story? (Reliability 1.00) How many of these are Independent Sources? (Reliability 1.00) How many of these are Media Sources? (Reliability 1.00) For TV News Stories with an Anchor present, who does the Anchor Direct the Viewer To? (Reliability 1.00) Do the TV News Stores direct viewers to their Web sites or other media coverage? (Reliability 1.00) If yes, where? (Reliability 1.00) Frames: Episodic or Thematic (1) Military Conflict Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability .75) (2) American Patriotism Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (3) Protest Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (4) Human Interest Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability .75) (5) Responsibility Frame Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (6) Economic Consequences Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (7) Diagnostic Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (8) Prognostic Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (9) Rebuilding of Iraq Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (10) Metacommunication Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) Subject(s): (Reliability .75) If Metacommunication frame is present, which of the above frames areas does the metacommunication directly relate to? (Reliability 1.00)

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87 If the Metacommunication Frame is Present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Self Reflexive (2) Strategy/Process (Reliability 1.00) If Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage (2) Anchors or Media Personalities Discussing their Opinions (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News Organization, Network, or Publication (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from another News Organization, Network, or Publications (6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event (7) Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media (8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing (Reliability 1.00) If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Pentagon Information Strategy (2) White House/Bush Administration Information Strategy (3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy (4) Partisan Information Source Strategy (5) Bush Administration-News Media Relationship and/or Interactions (6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press Briefings (7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage (8) Influence of PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists (Reliability .75) If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Adversarial (2) Educational (3) Neutral (Reliability .75) Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administrations Public Information Efforts: (1) Positive (2) Negative (3) Neutral (4) Not Applicable (Reliability .75) Key words, terms, or phrases used to describe these public information efforts: (Reliability 1.00) Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi governments Public Information Efforts: (1) Positive (2) Negative (3) Neutral (Reliability 1.00) (4) Not Applicable Key words, terms, or phrases used to describe these public information efforts: (Reliability 1.00)

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APPENDIX D CODESHEET FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WEB COVERAGE Coder: __ __ __ Story Number __ __ __ __ Story Date: __ __ __ __ __ __ (Reliability 1.00) Story Headline or Title: (Reliability 1.00) Type of Story: (2) Web Coverage (Reliability 1.00) Web News Story Origin: (1) ABC (2) CBS (3) CNN (4) FOX (Reliability 1.00) Web News Story Length: (Word Count) (Reliability 1.00) Source Attribution: (1) Story Author Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability .75) (2) Reporter Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (3) Anonymous Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (4) Special Interest/Lobbying Group Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (5) Military Expert (Not Current Personnel) Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (6) Republican Political Pundit Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (7) Democratic Political Pundit Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (8) Non-Partisan Political Pundit Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (9) Media Personality from Same Network Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (10) Media Personality from Other Organization Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (11) Scholar/Media Critic Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (12) Embedded Journalist Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (13) Associated Press or other Wire Service Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (14) Citizens Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (15) Bush Administration, Aides, or Advisors Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (16) Iraqi Government Official Spokesperson Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (17) Report/Document/Poling Data Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (18) U.S. Military Official(s) Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (19) Iraqi Dissidents Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (20) Other Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) If other, what individual(s) or group(s) were relied on as a source? (Reliability 1.00) 88

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89 How Many Total Sources Were Relied on for the Story? (Reliability .75) How many of these are Independent Sources? (Reliability 1.00) How many of these are Media Sources? (Reliability 1.00) How many subject hyperlinks are present? (Reliability 1.00) How many of these are internal hyperlinks? (Reliability 1.00) How many of these are external? (Reliability 1.00) If external, where are they sending the user? (Reliability 1.00) Frames: Episodic or Thematic (1) Military Conflict Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (2) American Patriotism Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (3) Protest Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (4) Human Interest Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (5) Responsibility Frame Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (6) Economic Consequences Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (7) Diagnostic Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (8) Prognostic Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (9) Rebuilding of Iraq Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) (10) Metacommunication Present (1) Absent (0) (Reliability 1.00) (Reliability 1.00) Source(s): (Reliability 1.00) Subject(s): (Reliability 1.00) If Metacommunication frame is present, which of the above frames areas does the metacommunication directly relate to? (Reliability 1.00) If Metacommunication Frame is Present, which one of the following best characterizes it?

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90 (1) Self Reflexive (2) Strategy/Process (Reliability 1.00) If Self Reflexive Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Role of Technology in Attaining Coverage (2) Anchors or Media Personalities Discussing their Opinions (3) Reporters Discussing Personal Experience of Covering the War (4) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from their News Organization, Network, or Publication (5) Reporters Interviewing/Reporting about other Journalists from another News Organization, Network, or Publications (6) The News Media Emphasizing their Role as a Participant in the Event (7) Cross Promotion and Cross Referencing of Media (8) Insider Views of the War or War Strategizing (Reliability 1.00) If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Pentagon Information Strategy (2) White House/Bush Administration Information Strategy (3) Military Official/ Troops Information Strategy (4) Partisan Information Source Strategy (5) Bush Administration-News Media Relationship and/or Interactions (6) Journalists Participation in Military Events or Press Briefings (7) Standards of the Quality of the News Coverage (8) Influence of PR/News Management Strategies on Journalists (Reliability 1.00) If, Strategy/Process Metacommunication Frame is present, which one of the following best characterizes it? (1) Adversarial (2) Educational (3) Neutral (Reliability 1.00) Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Bush Administrations Public Information Efforts: (1) Positive (2) Negative (3) Neutral (4) Not Applicable (Reliability 1.00) Key words, terms, or phrases used to describe these public information efforts: (Reliability 1.00) Storys Assessment/Overall Tone of the Iraqi governments Public Information Efforts: (1) Positive (2) Negative (3) Neutral (4) Not Applicable (Reliability 1.00) Key words, terms, or phrases used to describe these public information efforts: (Reliability 1.00)

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Andrew Paul Williams was born and raised in the once small and charming town of Orange Park, Florida. Williams has extensive professional communications experience as a consultant, writer, public relations practitioner, and photographer. He joins the faculty of the Department of Communication at Virginia Tech University in fall 2004. His research interests are political communication and media studies. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in communications and English and a minor in political science from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Williams earned his Master of Arts degree in English at University of North Florida as well. 105