Mass media often play a role in presenting policy conflicts to the public for consideration (Bennett, 1988; Patterson, 1994). While covering policy disputes, journalists use a practice called “issue dualism” to seek a balance between competing competitions (Bennett, 1988; Terkildsen, Schnell, & Ling, 1998; Tuchman, 1972), in which journalists attempt to reduce complex and many-sided issues to two opposition positions upheld by “two familiar, predictable, and legitimate groups or actors” (Bennett, 1988). Critics have denounced this practice and its heavy emphasis on conflict due to its responsibility for the erosion of public trust and the marginalization of minority voices in the issue debates (Hallin, 1994; Patterson, 1994). Many journalists defend issue dualism coverage due to the illusion of objectivity being maintained (Tuchman, 1972). A growing body of research, however, has found that journalists exercise a substantial degree of freedom to define issues conflict by applying frames of understanding, even within the bounds of issue dualism (Entman, 1993; Gamson & Modignliani, 1987; Neuman, Just, & Crigler, 1992).
Coverage of public policy debates is often presented as a clash of political interest and competing strategies (a strategy frame), as a clash of moral principle or basic values (value frame) as an assessment of economic consequences (material frame), or as rationales behind various policy alternatives (issue frame). Depending on which particular aspects of the conflict are highlighted in news stories, framing research has clearly shown that individuals respond differently (Cappella & Jamieson, 1997; Prince, Tewksbury, & Powers, 1997; Shah, Domke, & Wackman, 1996, 2001).
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...iens,” (Knoll et al., 2011; Soderlund, 2007). There seems to be a “struggle over framing” (Gamson & Wolfsfeld, 1993) or a “struggle over words” (Vitello, 2006) when trying to identify the most accurate word when referring to the undocumented in public communication (Vitello, 2006; Bazar & Brown, 2009). Unsurprisingly, the disagreement among media and other groups over which word should be used is motivated by the assumption that public opinion shifts when presenting the undocumented in different ways and with different connotations (Lakoff & Ferguson, 2006; Vitello, 2006; Bazar & Brown, 2009). Although scholars have studied the effects of framing in the behavioral and social sciences (Chong & Druckman, 2007; Keren, 2011), few experimental studies exist that evaluate the effect of using different linguistic labels to describe the undocumented (Ommundsen et al., 2014).
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