The Journal of Politics

Original Articles

On the Limits of Framing Effects: Who Can Frame?

James N. Druckmana1

a1 University of Minnesota

Abstract

Public opinion often depends on which frames elites choose to use. For example, citizens’ opinions about a Ku Klux Klan rally may depend on whether elites frame it as a free speech issue or a public safety issue. An important concern is that elites face few constraints to using frames to influence and manipulate citizens’ opinions. Indeed, virtually no work has investigated the limits of framing effects. In this article, I explore these limits by focusing on one particular constraint—the credibility of the frame’s source. I present two laboratory experiments that suggest that elites face a clear and systematic constraint to using frames to influence and manipulate public opinion.

(Online publication February 23 2000)

(Received September 29 2000)

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