CONTANCT ANALYSIS 1

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    Business
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    Assignment
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    Masters
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Same Sex Marriage: Contact Analysis

  1. Introduction

Same-sex marriage legislation and perspectives have all been of central issue in mainstream political communication platforms immediately after this form of marriages first legalized in 2004 in the United States of America (Lewis, 2005). It is important to comprehend the fact that the issue of same-sex marriage is indeed complex in nature and thus, this outlines the distinctive histories of marriage and gay rights. This paper will use Semetko and Valkenburg(2000) 5-common frames- to deductively as well as quantitatively evaluate and thereafter compare how they have been used in newspapers coverage of same sex legislation in Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and, The New York Times. It is crucial to note that this form of legislation intimately affects most people hence news coverage surrounding it should be analyzed in great depth. Different news media have the capacity to sharpen the existing public opinion and therefore, elicit public debate and for this reason; public policies on this issue should be scrutinized. The study seeks to attain provision of pertinent information of how newspaper media treats this underlying issue for purposes of comprehending the exact nature of their potential influence on people. The research question in place is stated as follows;

Which of these common frames were adopted by these different newspapers in the US in the coverage of legislation associated with same-sex marriage”?“

II. Methodological Section

For this study, the 3 most crucial variables
that will be explored include; Opinions about same-sex unions, religious affiliation and political interference. The hypotheses relating to these variables and that should be explored are stated as below;

  1. It is hypothesized that the public hold divergent opinions about the aspect of same-sex unions that include; favoring and condemnation views.

  2. It is hypothesized that most of the religious institutions perceive same-sex unions as being sinful and inhumane in nature because any form of organised religion do not engage in frequent support of gay couples.

  3. It is hypothesized that there will be different perspectives as a result of distinct political interference in most of the US states.

The study focused on a sample of newspapers from the three major US publishing companies; Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and, The New York Times. The sample consisted of 2015 same- sex marriage In United States (6/26/ 2015). It covered a period of two weeks that lasted between June 26, 2015 and July 7, 2015. The below information indicates the number of newspapers covered in relation to each publication;

The New York Times
(n=19), The Washington Post (n=14), Chicago Tribune (n=22)

The below represents the units that were coded for each of these newspapers and within the period stated;

A. Five frames B. Headline (Pro or Against) C. What people say (Pro or against)

Below is Tally Sheet that specifically shows how each of these units was coded and is used for purposes of analyzing the entire study.

Category to be coded

Not Present

Five news Frames

Attribution responsibility

Human interest

Conflict

Morality

Economic

Headline

The validity of the research study was boosted by ensuring that it came up research questions that clearly focused on tackling same-sex marriages issues. This research question is further distinguished by a set of hypothesis that seeks to elaborate on the issue in depth. Consequently, the reliability of the study was enhanced through the adoption of an enormous set of different sample population- newspaper coverage- that all had all presented the distinctiveness of the underlying viewpoints on the aspects related to same-sex opinions, religious and political interferences. Reliability was further ensured by engaging in multiple training sessions considered necessary for attaining a high degree of inter-coder reliability.

Operational Definitions:

Semetko & Valkenburg (2000) came up with a distinctive literature review to establish the five frames that will be vehemently used for this study. It is important to note that even though the literature below provides definition for these terms, descriptions that are deemed specific to the study at hand will be integrated as a way of better comprehending the different perspectives of these frames for the issue altogether.

  • According to Semetko & Valkenburg (2000) conflict frame showcases the level of conflict between individual groups or even institutions as a way of capturing audience interest. For the case at hand, the conflict is manifested between members of the gay community, political interferences and members of the religious community.

  • Human interest frame is used to portray the element of emotional angle to the presentation of a given issue (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000). In this case, it relates to the gay couples seeking and thereby being denied the right of obtaining marriage license.

  • The economic consequences frame provides information relating to an issue, event or problem in relation to the consequences it will impact on the economic situation of individual groups or countries (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000). For instance, the access to health care for one of the spouse in same sex legislation framework.

  • The morality frame portrays the issue at hand on a religious perspective or even moral prescriptions (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000).

  • The responsibility frame portrays an issue in a way that relates to it being responsible for its cause or solution to either government or individual groups (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000). For the case at hand, it is invoked in same-sex marriage legislation framework.

III. Data Analysis/Results

From the tally sheet above; the following information can be deducted quantitatively. The data indicates that all of the three newspapers indeed utilized all five common frames within their headlines and quote sections. The most popular frames are human interest and morality with each scoring a 56.36%. Conflict frame comes in third with 36.36%; followed by attribution responsibility 14.54%; and lastly economic frame with a 7.27%. The headline section indicated that 67.27% was pro same-sex marriages while 32.72% was all against it all together. Certainly, in the 55 newspapers articles analyzed; 63.67% was pro the issue while 36.37% was against the issue.

The high percentage marks as witnessed in frame related to morality and human interest high is an indication that the society as well as the numerous religious institutions at large is the main influencer of the issue at hand. They choose whether or not to support the act depending on how well they are informed. Of particular interest, political interference also comes in handy as the different arms of the government commitment to enlighten the public and engage them in developing policies attributed to same-sex marriages plays a significant role in determine the morality and human interest altogether (Baskerville, 2006). Religious interference can thus be said to playing a much weaker role in enhancing support for the constitutional amendments relating to the prevention of gay marriages as opposed to how they ascertain attitudes towards the issue (Petersen & Donnenwerth, 1998). Considering this mix-results; it can certainly be ascertained that the public hold divergent opinions about the aspect of same-sex unions that include; favoring and condemnation views and, also there are different perspectives of the same issue due to distinct political interference in most of the United States of America (Levitt & Klassen,1974).

  1. It is hypothesized that the public hold divergent opinions about the aspect of same-sex unions that include; favoring and condemnation views.

This hypothesis is true given the fact that about 67.27% of the newspaper headlines and 63.63% of the quotes indicate that they are pro-same sex marriage notion. Subsequently, those of the divergent opinion are 32.72% and 36.37% respectively.

  1. It is hypothesized that most of the religious institutions perceive same-sex unions as being sinful and inhumane in nature because any form of organised religion do not engage in frequent support of gay couples.

Considering the fact that religious institutions perceive same-sex marriage as being sinful then it means that they do not support whatsoever. This hypothesis is true and can be fairly explained by the morality frame, which indicates 56.36% present newspaper coverage.

  1. It is hypothesized that there will be different perspectives as a result of distinct political interference in most of the US states.

This hypothesis is not true since the economic frame, which is highly an attribute of political interference on the issue at hand only stands at 7.27% newspaper coverage.

There are noticeable differences in the way the newspapers have covered same-sex marriage in regards to the five common frames model. It can be noted that both the attribution and morality frames cover a significant percent of coverage at 56.36% while the least covered frame is the economic frame that indicates a 7.27% coverage stand.

IV. Conclusion

Human interest and morality is the two common five common frames used in expounding the issue related to same-sex marriages in the United States of America. Both political and religious interferences play a significant role in shaping the opinions underlying public as a whole especially since they have a powerful effect on aspects related to attitudes regarding same-sex marriages. The major limitation of this study lies in the low degree of coding reliability, which is an effect of poor measurement instrument. Thus, it means that the results from this study should be interpreted in a much careful manner. As a result of this unreliability of coding that was witnessed while suing the Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) frame measurement, future studies should ensure to utilize the same instrument but in different and unique platforms for purposes of establishing its reliability and validity position.

References

Baskerville, S. (2006). Politics and same-sex marriage. Society, 44, 60-66

Lewis, G, B. (2005). ‘‘Same-Sex Marriage and the 2004 Presidential Election.’’ PS: Political Science & Politics 38:195–99.

Levitt, E, E., & Klassen, D. (1974). ‘‘Public Attitudes Toward Homosexuality: Part of the 1970 National Survey by the Institute for Sex Research.’’ Journal of Homosexuality, 1:29–43

Petersen, L R., & Donnenwerth. G, V. (1998). ‘‘Religion and Declining Support for Traditional Beliefs about Gender Roles and Homosexual Rights.’’ Sociology of Religion 59:353–71.

Semetko, H. A., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Framing European politics: A content analysis of press and television news. Journal of Communication, 50(2), 93-109