1 Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Institut for Statskundskab, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Institut for Statskundskab, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet
News media coverage of election campaigns is often characterized by use of the strategic game frame and a focus on politicians’ use of negative campaigning. However, the exact relationship between these two characteristics of news coverage is largely unexplored. This article theorizes that consumer demand and norms of journalistic independence might induce the news media outlets to cover negative campaigning with a strategic game frame. A comprehensive content analysis based on several newspaper types, several election campaigns, and several different measurements of media framing confirms that news coverage of negative campaigning does apply the strategic game frame to a significantly larger degree than articles covering positive campaigning. This finding has significant implications for campaigning politicians and for scholars studying campaign and media effects.
Mass Communication and Society, 2014, Vol 17, Issue 6, p. 898-919