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Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

4.3.3.1 Magnification

4.3.3.1 Magnification Entman (2004, p.30) notes that: 111 The sine qua non of successful framing is magnitude – magnifying those elements of the depicted reality that favour one side‟s position, making them salient, while at the same time shrinking those elements that might be used to construct a counterframe. In determining magnitude, Entman (2004) argues that the amount of material presented plays a major role. By sheer volume of material, a frame can be magnified in such a way that it penetrates the consciousness of a disinterested public. In the case of the 1994 post-election period, there is no doubt that the Unity Frames in the newspapers corpus and the parliamentary corpus were the dominant frames. In the newspapers corpus, of the 199 paragraphs coded, 122 were coded to the Unity Frame. This represents 61.3% of the 199 paragraphs. Of these 122 coded paragraphs, 81 (66.4%) were drawn from 29 articles published in the BNL newspapers. These 29 articles represent 74.4% of the 39 articles contributing to the Unity Frame (See Table 4.1). Of the 151 coded paragraphs in the parliamentary corpus, 82 (54%) were coded to the Unity Frame. Of these 82 coded paragraphs, 71 (86.6%) were contributions from MCP MPs drawn from 24 speeches being 77.4% of all the 31 speeches contributing to this frame (See Table 4.2). Clearly, these figures demonstrate the interest shown in the issue of unity by the MCP/AFORD alliance and the BNL newspapers. As noted above, the editorial position of the BNL newspapers reflected the ideological position of the MCP/AFORD alliance on national unity. All of these paragraphs negatively portrayed the advent of the new democratic dispensation, the just ended elections, the ruling party

112 and its leadership as being responsible for national disunity. In the parliamentary Unity Frame, the MCP/AFORD alliance dominated leaving the ruling party‟s MPs to struggle in order to impose the UDF‟s definition of national unity in a multiparty democracy. On the other hand, the contribution of the Chronicle and the Nation, and the UDF to the Unity Frames were quite low. For the newspapers corpus, there were 21 paragraphs (17.2% of the 122 paragraphs coded). These were contained in 10 articles representing 25.6% of the 39 articles contributing to the newspapers Unity Frame. The UDF had eight paragraphs (9.8% of the total 82) from seven speeches (22.6% of the 31) contributing to this frame. These figures may indicate the UDF‟s, and the Chronicle and the Nation‟s disinterest in the national unity issue. They may also indicate a real failure on the part of these newspapers and the UDF to impose their definition of national unity on the newspaper reading public. 4.3.3.2 De-emphasis If the desire of the MCP and the BNL newspapers was to magnify and raise the Unity Frames in both corpora, then they must have desired to de-emphasize the Governance Frames. As Entman (2004, p. 31) notes, framing is not only about magnifying a desired frame but it is also about reducing the salience of the rival frame. By this principle, an important frame can be rendered useless by receiving little or unnoticeable coverage in the media. The Governance Frames were very negative towards the just ended MCP rule. However, its importance was diminished in the MCP controlled press (See Table 4.1). Compared to the Unity Frame in the newspapers corpus which had 122 paragraphs (41.2% of the 199 coded paragraphs), and the Leadership Frame which had 45 (22.6%), the Governance Frame had only 39 (16.1%) paragraphs coded to it. Of the 86 articles in

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