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Agenda-Building Influences in the News Mediaís Coverage of the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationís Push to Regulate Tobacco, 1993-2009

Author: CAROLINE FOSTER, JIM THRASHER , SEI-HILL KIM, INDIA ROSE, JOHN BESLEY, and ASHLEY NAVARRO
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 35 No. 3

Citing agenda-building theory, this article examines the influence of three key factors on the news mediaís coverage of the process of placing tobacco and tobacco products under regulation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 1993 and 2009. We analyzed data from a content analysis of 570 news articles from The New York Times and Washington Post and found that the media published significantly more FDA regulation articles during the Clinton administration than during the Bush administration. Our analysis links that imbalance of media coverage to the influence of the president of the United States (Clinton and Bush, during the duration of this study), journalistic routines and real world events. We compared the Clinton and Bush era news coverage on article prominence, article topics, and reasons to support/oppose FDA regulation and found significant differences, which we suggest led to the imbalance of news articles in the two administrations.

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