Drones and Indexing: A Content Analysis of Print Media Coverage of U.S. Drone Strikes




Susko, Peter A.

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This study conducted a content analysis of print media coverage to explore what sources journalist cited on articles pertaining to U.S. drone strikes. Drone strikes have increased rapidly during the Obama administration and public opinion polls indicate a lack of opposition to this trend. The goal of this study was to explore pro/con frames and explain for the lack of a con frame in the status quo. The content analysis looked at what sources journalists would use in articles on drones. The indexing model, which predicts journalists will give elite officials a privileged voice when there is elite consensus, was the guiding theory of this study. The content analysis looked at both conservative and liberal newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Results from both newspapers showed journalists quoted Obama administration and government officials the majority of the time. The vast majority of articles included the benefits of drone strikes and ignored con frames, such as the deaths of innocent people. This study provided a new and relevant application of indexing. Furthermore, this study looked at whether conservative or liberal newspapers had a noticeable effect on indexing.



Indexing, Drones, Framing, Journalism