ERIC Number: ED230481
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May-1
Reference Count: 0
Amnesty in the New York Times: A Quantitative Case Study.
Barger, Robert N.; Barger, Josephine C.
An analysis of opinion columns in the "New York Times" on the issue of amnesty for draft evaders during the Vietnam War provides a quantitative approach to investigating qualitative policy issues. A total of 93 editorials, guest editorials, and letters to the editor from 1971 through 1975 were examined. The material was classified as either pro or con on the issue and was then categorized according to the basis of argumentation: politics, fairness, efficacy, or legality. Variables included year of study, basis of argument, format (editorial, guest editorial, or letter), and position pro or con. Of the 93 pieces, 76 were pro on the issue and 17 were con; editorials written by the "Times" staff were 100 percent pro. The most frequent arguments were based on efficacy (i.e., amnesty was an effective way of reuniting those in need of it), followed by those based on fairness. The total number of opinion pieces was greatest in 1974 (38) and declined to 18 in 1975. Conclusions are that opinion pieces were basically a reflection of the existing opinion (of staff and readers) rather than a cause of this opinion. Also, most of the opinion material was reactive; none of the material examined was neutral. Finally, the format type forecast the content; letters to the editor were more likely to include arguments against amnesty, while editorials reflected the newspaper's position only. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Amnesty; New York Times; Vietnam War