Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 31, 2013

Assessing the tone of televised economic messages during economic recovery: Positive and negative, global and local

Amir Hetsroni and Zachary Sheaffer

Abstract

Objective: To map the tone of local and global economic information transmitted in news and non-news TV programming during economic recovery, and to resolve a conflict in the literature between research where a negative trend in economic news was identified and studies which concluded that economic news reflects actual economic circumstances.

Method: A content analysis of 140 hours of prime-time programming (news and non-news) aired by commercial networks and public broadcasting in Israel during one month.

Results: Local news reflects fairly accurately current trends in the stock exchange while still maintaining a general tendency to employ a negative tone more frequently than a positive tone, even during economic recovery. Global economic news is more positive in tone than local economic news. References to the economy in the news are more positive and frequent than references to the economy in non-news programming. The tone of economic news in public broadcasting is more negative than the tone of economic news aired on commercial stations.

Conclusions: The existence of a negative bias in economic news depends on the reported event. While News about the stock exchange is not biased, less concrete news is negatively biased.

Published Online: 2013-5-31
Published in Print: 2013-5-29

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