Title page for ETD etd-05152009-224049


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Williams, Daron
Author's Email Address debo9@vt.edu
URN etd-05152009-224049
Title Fun With Frames: Exploring Metacommunication and Real Media Frames in South Park's Fake News
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tedesco, John C. Committee Chair
Denton, Robert E. Jr. Committee Member
Waggenspack, Beth M. Committee Member
Keywords
  • metacommunication
  • framing
  • generic frames
  • macro-frames
  • entertainment media
Date of Defense 2009-05-06
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The popular cable show South Park has steadily entertained audiences since its debut in 1997. Much of the show’s humor and entertainment value comes from its satirical treatment of public figures, institutions, and timely trends. One of the institutions often lampooned on the show is that of television news broadcasting. This thesis project seeks to shed light on entertainment media portrayals of television news journalists and television news journalism as a whole by examining the issues covered, how those issues are framed, and how the journalist is used as a figure on the border of entertainment and information in one show. A content analysis was performed on all news broadcasts contained within all 181 episodes of South Park through its twelfth season. Results indicate that Semetko and Valkenburg’s (2000) five generic frames penetrate well into the entertainment realm; a broadcast’s “relationship to reality” is framed significantly differently when Conflict and Speculation frames are employed; news broadcasters are not portrayed as exemplars of the media’s “liberal bias;” and that South Park has used significantly more reality-based storylines in recent years than in its early years.
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