Green dreams or pipe dreams?: Media framing of the U.S. biofuels movement
A paper by Wynne Wright, Associate Professor in the Department Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies at Michigan State University and Taylor Reid, Doctoral Candidate at Michigan State, and Administrator of Beginningfarmers.org, will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal Biomass and Bioenergy (Elsevier Ltd.).
The article is now available on line at : http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2010.07.020
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Using a frame analytic approach, we identify and analyze the media’s portrayal of the recent movement to increase U.S. biofuels’ investment and development. Using a dataset comprised of New York Times articles, we examine the contested terrain of biofuels discourse as some media coverage frames biofuels as beneficial, while other reporting constructs and packages counter-claims intended to resist development and portray biofuels as problematic. We focus on both the content of frames and strategies used by media claims-makers to assemble frames. We find that the media constructed three distinct frames in their efforts to shape public discourse: economic development, environment, and national security. These frames were constructed primarily by situating them within a larger political and economic context to gain public legitimacy. In this paper we will show how, in their efforts to construct meaning around biofuels, the media draw on frames that are coded with symbolic meanings that widely resonate with dominant cultural values.