Framing of GMOs in American media and its effects on attitudes, behaviors, and news perceptions.

Abstract: This study used a multi-method approach to examine the framing of GMOs in two American newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post (2000-2016), and to test the impact of risk and opportunity framing on attitudes, behaviors regarding GMOs, and perceptions of news credibility. The results of the content analysis (N = 165) showed that two newspapers did not have a dominant frame type in their coverage, but that their articles contained both risk and opportunity statements. The results of a randomized three-condition experiment (N = 182) showed that the type of framing not only significantly impacted individuals’ attitudes, but was also able to change them. In addition, the type of framing impacted individuals’ behavioral intentions and news credibility perceptions, but was not able to significantly impact actual behavior. The results are discussed in light of framing theories.