2019 Volume 35 Issue 2 Pages 72-84
Previous studies have indicated that there is a negative attitude toward the welfare system and its recipients. Media coverage of welfare is considered to be one of the factors behind this attitude. In this research, we conducted a web survey experiment focusing on framing effects, exploring how media coverage of social problems affects people’s ways of perceiving problems. Furthermore, we examined the interaction between media framing and informational positions: whether the article is positive or negative for welfare. Results revealed that the episodic frame focusing on welfare recipients affected the attribution of responsibility to welfare recipients, and this tendency was remarkable in the critical content condition. However, the thematic frame focusing on the welfare system had only a weak influence on the attribution of responsibility to the government, and the difference due to informational positions was also small. Attribution of responsibility affected support for enhancing financial policies. Participants tended to oppose the policies if they attributed causal (onset) responsibility and treatment (offset) responsibility to welfare recipients, and to agree with the policies if they attributed treatment responsibility to the government.