Title page for ETD etd-04012008-134143

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Cooley, Skye Chance
Author's Email Address skye717@gmail.com
URN etd-04012008-134143
Title Entertainment Media and "Backstage" Event Framing: How 24 Defines Torture
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kirby Goidel Committee Chair
Craig Freeman Committee Member
Regina Lawrence Committee Member
  • 24
  • entertainment media
  • Framing
  • torture
Date of Defense 2008-03-24
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of the current study is to examine how the prime time television show 24 frames torture by US government officials almost exclusively in scenarios of high-consequence, high-confidence that are not supported by public opinion polls, provide contextual rationalizations that are unrealistic, show torture methods as a viable means to gain needed information, and show enemy combatants torturing U.S. citizens. Through a quantitative content analysis of torture on the television series 24 and an analysis of focus groups’ reactions to select episodes of 24 portraying torture in such scenarios, the study seeks to investigate the role of entertainment media in influencing public opinion and providing “backstage” context from which opinions may be formed. The study examines how fictional portrayals of an event or issue such as torture can enter into political discourse on the subject. The study builds on prior research on how and when entertainment media provide context and frames to the public that the news media cannot, and helps further our understanding of how entertainment media can enter into public discourse and inform public opinion.
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