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Win, Lose, or Spin? FCC Language in its Push for Regulatory Power Regarding Net Neutrality

Fri, May 22, 12:00 to 13:15, Caribe Hilton, Grand Salon Los Rosales


In politics, language is crucial to creating, conceptualizing, and understanding policy. Utilizing framing theory, this qualitative study examined statements made by FCC commissioners following the 2014 U.S. Appeals Court ruling regarding “net neutrality,” Verizon v. FCC. Democratic commissioners, including the FCC chairman, framed the case as a victory rather than a setback. Republican commissioners focused on the agency’s continued regulatory efforts with cautionary language in opposition to the chairman’s policy direction. Both sides argued that their position on regulation would increase Internet commerce even though their policies were very different. This study then examined how commissioners’ language translated into media coverage by examining online articles from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. It was found that five of the six news outlets covered the Democratic FCC chairman and his statement, but only two mentioned any statement from Republican commissioners.


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