Although the U.S. Supreme Court granted the constitutional right to same-sex marriage in 2015, the nation remains greatly divided on the issue. Some people believe that same-sex marriage sacrileges the sanctity of family, religion and social institutions, while others believe that gay couples be granted the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. News media also play a role in presenting information about same-sex marriage to the public. Research has shown that a medium’s ideological orientation may affect the ways it frames an issue.
Dominic Lasorsa, former associate professor, and Deepa Fadnis, doctoral student, both at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, and Jiyoun Suk, doctoral student of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin, conducted a content analysis of the articles relating to same-sex marriage published in The New York Post and The New York Times between 1998 and 2014. During the period, the Post published 1,325 articles to the Times’ 7,122.
Of these stories, around 37 percent were primarily morality framed and the rest were primarily equality framed. Morality refers to symbols rooted in morality, such as amoral, morals and moral order. Morality framing privileges the idea that same-sex marriage defies the moral order. On the other hand, equality framing privileges the idea that, under the law, same-sex marriage equals marriage. Both equality framing and morality framing increased and decreased over time. Over the entire period, morality framing roughly tended to decline while equality framing tended to increase.
Morality framing was more prevalent in the Post, amounting to 44 percent of its articles and 32 percent in the Times.
The Post morality framed more than the Times in election years. During election years around 56 percent of Post articles were morality framed, compared with 37 percent in the Times. On the other hand, in non-election years, around 31 percent of Post articles were morality framed, compared with 25 percent in the Times.
The authors also found that morality framing was more prevalent, especially in the Post in 1998-2003. In 2004-2009, morality framing declined in the Post and increased in the Times. In 2010-2014, equality framing increased in both papers.
To read the full text of the study: https://bit.ly/2SwB7eK
Lasorsa, D. L., Suk, J., & Fadnis, D. (2018). Framing of same-sex marriage over 17 years in two newspapers is linked to ideology especially in election years. Newspaper Research Journal, 39(2), 191-204.