ERIC Number: ED233458
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Busing in the New York Times: A Quantitative Case Study of Educational Public Policy Argumentation.
Barger, Robert Newton
As a study in the presentation of a public policy issue in education, the argumentative rationales of 139 opinion pieces (editorials, op-ed pieces, and letters to the editor) in "The New York Times" on the issue of school busing were analyzed. Material from the years 1971-75 was located through "The New York Times Index" and classified according to four bases of argumentation: politics, legality, fairness, and efficacy (whether busing furthered desegregation). For all format types, the most frequently used argument was based on politics (41 percent), with that based on efficacy second (26 percent), and those on law or fairness last (16.5 percent each). Distribution of arguments shifted with public climate, however; political reasoning predominated during the 1972 elections and legality and fairness during nonelection years. The pro-busing position dominated the argument--reflecting "The Times" editorial position--with 75 percent pro and 25 percent con for all opinions. The letters section was the only format type to have more pieces opposed to busing than in favor (56 percent opposed), reflecting the newspaper's policy of choosing letters contrary to editorial positions. The major appeal of the editorials was to political reasoning but that of the letters was to the efficacy and results of busing. The study shows that the opinion pieces reflected already-formed opinions on the issue and that the presentation was propagandistic, with political views dominating the editorials and few neutral letters appearing. (JW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: New York Times
Note: This study was assisted by a grant from the Council on Faculty Research of Eastern Illinois University.