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New Frames and National Security: Covering Big Brother, Douglas M. McLeod and Dhavan V. Shah

Reviewed by Kristene Unsworth

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The media has the power to influence the way the public views events. This statement is widely accepted, yet examples of the fact still leave one with a feeling of surprise that our opinions can be manipulated in both acknowledged and less acknowledged ways. Douglas M. McLeod and Dhavan V. Shah explore this by advancing the concept of communication framing effects. “[F]raming can be found throughout the social sciences as a way of describing how messages, based on certain patterns of emphasis and exclusion, can structure the thinking of the people who encounter them” (p. 11). The researchers look specifically at the distinction between individual and collective frames and cueing. Cueing is similar to framing in that it brings form to a portion of the message. While a frame relates to a story or event as a whole, a cue brings meaning to a specific concept. McLeod and Shah aim, in part, to bring into focus “framing effects” research and cueing through experiments that altered certain features of news stories related to the “war on terror” in order to determine audience response.

Their work leads to the development of two new models: the Message Framing Model (MFM) and the Message Processing Model (MPM). These models present “frame building (how frames become manifest in texts) and frame setting (how frames come to influen

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