Media Framing of the Steroids Scandal in Major League Baseball


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Virginia Tech


A content analysis and post hoc content analysis of 362 news articles in national newspapers, regional newspapers, and Internet news Web sites investigated the prevalence of issue-specific and generic frames, frame valence, and the personalization of media coverage of the steroid scandal in Major League Baseball. Research guided by framing theory found 2,353 frames present in the initial analysis and 2,834 frames present after the post hoc analysis. Generic frames were more prevalent than issue-specific frames in coverage in initial analysis. The post hoc analysis, however, indicates that issue-specific frames were more prevalent than generic frames in terms of times present. Frames are valenced negatively more frequently than neutrally or positively in coverage. Media coverage was focused on the individuals more often than on the organization, however, both the individuals and organization were treated similarly in terms of valence of frames. The findings of the analyses supported scholarship calling for more analysis of generic and issue-specific frames, the presence of valence in frames, and the personalization of media coverage in the political communication context that in this case is present in the sports media context as well. Findings merit further scholarship on broader source comparison in coverage of this scandal, agenda-setting in various forms, and further frame analysis in the sports media contexts and other contexts outside of the political communication context as well.



Frame Valence, Major League Baseball, BALCO, Steroids, Generic Frames, Sports Media, Issue-Specific Frames, Framing