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Reframing the Iraq War: Official Sources, Dramatic Events, and Changes in Media Framing

Journal of Communication

Published online on


This study examines how official sources and dramatic events influence media framing of political issues, assessing the claims of the indexing hypothesis and event‐driven models. Through an analysis of the New York Times' coverage of the Iraq War in late 2005 and early 2006, this study compares coverage from before and after the bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine in Iraq. The analysis shows that journalists avoided the preferred frame of the White House while amplifying the preferred frame of the military. It also shows that the bombing spurred journalists to reframe the conflict. These findings challenge parts of the indexing hypothesis and support a more event‐driven model of media framing.