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

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

127 the country was a

127 the country was a total failure. They argued that the MCP had some successes and some failures as noted above (Section 4.4.2.2). Thus the MCP/AFORD allianced warned the UDF against exaggerating the failure of the MCP as some day its own record would also fall under observation. Further, by citing specific examples of infrastructure development across the country, the MCP was able to blunt the critical tone of UDF MPs. In the end, frame was not pervasive enough in terms of numbers to raise its status on the hierarchy of frames in this study. Further, the frame‟s very arguments were blunted by opposition. 4.4.2 Summary The Leadership Frame was unique to the newspapers corpus. It was a frame predicated on the negative personification of the new ruling elite. The BNL newspapers presented these leaders as inexperienced to deal with the complex problems facing the nation and to unify it. On the other hand, the Nation and the Chronicle, counter-argued that the new leaders were humble and in tune with the people. This frame was magnified by the BNL newspapers due to their large circulation. The Failed Government Frame was unique to the parliamentary corpus. The frame was offered by the UDF MPs. It attempted to provide a description of the dire situation Malawians lived in during the single party era. It labelled the MCP‟s rule as a total failure. This frame suffered due to reduced salience and subversion because of the lesser numbers of the UDF in the National Assembly and due to effective counter-arguments from the MCP/AFORD alliance. 4.5 Frame Construction Features across all Frames

128 The section discusses two general frame construction features exhibited across all the six frames. The first relates to the primacy of Problem Definitions and Moral Evaluations in the frames. The second aspects relates to partisan cues from elite political actors which journalists used in their frame construction. 4.5.1 The Problem Definition/Moral Evaluation Equilibrium This case study revealed the primacy of problem definitions in the framing process. Across all frames in the newspapers corpus, Problem Definition components had the most paragraphs coded to them. This means that of the 199 paragraphs coded in the newspapers corpus in the 1994 post-elections case study, 76 were coded to the Problem Definition components. While there was undisputed primacy in the Problem Definition component in the newspapers corpus, this was not the case in the parliamentary corpus. The Problem Definition component superseded all components in only one frame, the Governance Frame. In the Unity Frame and the Failed Government Frame, the Moral Evaluation components superseded all the other frames. In the Governance Frame, the Causal Interpretation component superseded all frames. However, overall, the Moral Evaluation components had 67 paragraphs out of the 151 paragraphs in the parliamentary corpus. Cobb & Coughlin (1998, p.418) argue that the process of defining a problem is central to the framing of issues. That is perhaps the reason why the Problem Definition components dominated in the newspapers corpus. In an open debate, it is normal to define the problem and locate the causal agents inherent in an issue before providing treatment recommendation (Primm & Clark, 1996). Where issues are divisive or demand policy initiatives, those groups that are able to articulate the problem in a

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