News Frames and National Security: Covering Big Brother

Did media coverage contribute to Americans’ tendency to favor national security over civil liberties following the 9/11 attacks? How did news framing of terrorist threats support the expanding surveillance state revealed by Edward Snowden? Douglas M. McLeod and Dhavan V. Shah explore the power of news coverage to render targeted groups suspicious and to spur support for government surveillance. They argue that the tendency of journalists to frame stories around individual targets of surveillance – personifying the domestic threat – shapes citizens’ judgments about tolerance and participation, leading them to limit the civil liberties of a range of groups under scrutiny and to support “Big Brother.” [Cambridge University Press]

Reviews from Journal of Communication, Public Opinion QuarterlyPolitical Science Quarterly & Communication Booknotes Quarterly.

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