President Trump and the News Media

Moral Foundations, Framing, and the Nature of Press Bias in America

Jim A. Kuypers

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In President Trump and the News Media: Moral Foundations, Framing, and the Nature of Press Bias in America , political communication researcher Jim A. Kuypers takes readers on a rhetorical framing tour de force, this time incorporating elements of Moral Foundations Theory to investigate the ideological underpinnings of press reports. Using a rhetorical version of framing analysis, Kuypers analyzes four major speeches by President Trump and compares them with the reporting on those speeches by the mainstream news media. The moral foundations of both Trump and the news media are examined to assess their respective moral/ideological underpinnings. The results turn framing theory on its head by demonstrating how frames do not give rise to moral assessments as previously thought, but rather the presence of moral foundations provide moral substance to frames as they are developed and found throughout news coverage. The results reveal how journalists inject bias consciously and unconsciously into hard news stories, and that their moral foundations act to privilege liberal concerns and denigrate conservative concerns. Kuypers conveys how news media framing acted to treat President Trump not as a source of news, but as a political opponent while at the same time helping the political opposition of the President. By evaluating journalistic practices through the lens of their own published ethical standards, Kuypers argues that contemporary journalistic practices are damaging the American Republic and makes the case for immediate incorporation of viewpoint diversity within news organizations. Scholars of communications, journalism, and political science will find this book particularly interesting.

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