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The spoiler effect: Framing attitudes and expectations toward peace


  • Thamir Sheafer

    () (Department of Communication and Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Shira Dvir-Gvirsman

    (Department of Communication, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


This study analyzes the impact of media framing on aggregate attitudes and expectations of Israelis toward the Oslo peace process with the Palestinians during a time period of eight years (1995-2003). It presents three main contributions: First, it provides a long-term analysis of the impact of media coverage of a peace process on public opinion, while controlling for the influence of real life events. Second, it presents empirical evidence that the strength of media framing effects varies among different facets of public opinion. Specifically, framing effects are stronger on aggregate future expectations compared with their effects on aggregate current attitudes. The fact that the information transmitted by the media evaluative tone was a central source of influence on future expectations underlines the central role of the media in political and social phenomena. Third, in line with previous studies, it shows that the public response to negative framing is much stronger than to positive framing. This may have a negative effect on a government's ability to rally the public in support of a peace process. Since most media coverage of the peace process and conflict focused on negative developments while ignoring positive ones, the media effect on public opinion was that of peace spoilers.

Suggested Citation

  • Thamir Sheafer & Shira Dvir-Gvirsman, 2010. "The spoiler effect: Framing attitudes and expectations toward peace," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(2), pages 205-215, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:2:p:205-215

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