Politics as a Game in Danish Newspapers - Lars Christian Jensen

Politics as a Game
                    in Danish Newspapers
                               Lars Christian Jensen

     The aim of this study is to find out whether the Danish written media focus more on the
     competitive aspect of an election rather than on political content. This is accomplished by
     analyzing newspaper articles from the three weeks leading up to the election for parliament
     in 2011. The analysis is based on the framework proposed by Thomas Patterson in his
     1993 book “Out of order”. The framework consists of two underlying metaframes, an
     issue metaframe and a game metaframe. Either one or the other is present in any article
     with political content. Articles dominated by the issue metaframe rely on political issues,
     viewpoints and arguments, whereas articles dominated by the game metaframe rely on
     polling data and report only on how well a political party or candidate is doing in relation
     to its competitors by using metaphors. Articles that dominated the game metaframe focus
     on who is winning and who is losing. The analysis shows furthermore that one third of
     all articles are dominated by the game metaframe. The results furthermore indicate that
     articles dominated by the game metaframe are more frequent close to an election than in
     between elections.

1. Introduction

The press is often said to be the fourth branch     for focusing too much on winners and losers
in the separation of powers as the press holds      of the election during the election for parlia-
the other three branches, the executive, the        ment in September 2011. Some of the critique
legislative and the judiciary in check (Patter-     has come from voters, who state their opinions
son, 2000, 249). The press has as such no for-      in blogs and debates in newspapers. However,
mal or legal role in the political system. Yet,     critique has also come from academics, who
the press has an ability to “structure the ac-      search for more substance in the way the me-
tions of governments and political actors and       dia covers elections (Hjort, 2011). The crit-
thereby the news influence on the political         icism culminated after a TV-debate on the
agenda and the framing of politics” (Ørsten         national network TV2, in which each candi-
& Allern, 2011, 1). Therefore it is interest-       date was assigned to a team (blue team for
ing how the media utilizes this power when          conservative/liberal/right wing parties and red
the press reports on politics and political is-     for socialist/left wing parties) and was able to
sues. The press in Denmark has been criticized      score points for his team based on how well the

Sønderborg Papers in Linguistics and Communication # 2                                              1
candidate debated for his political viewpoint.           and losers or was the coverage of
The TV-debate resembled a sports event with              the election based on political
banners, referees and even cheerleaders. The             issues?
TV-debate on TV2 was largely criticized on
Facebook, on Internet forums as well as in the
written press (Nielsen, 2011). The critique of      Research on the use of game frames is inter-
the press has been harsh, but did the press         esting because excessive use of game frames
really focus that much attention on winners         in political press coverage can lead to lower
and loser rather than actual political issues?      voter turnouts, as the use of game frames
This is what I aim to find out in this paper.       turns voters into spectators (Pedersen, 2011).
I will do this by analyzing newspaper articles      Game metaframes have been studied in both
published in Metroexpress in the weeks lead-        the United States and in Europe, but as of yet
ing up to the election. The analysis will try       no studies regarding game metaframes in Dan-
to uncover whether the press did focus more         ish media have been published. Studies from
on winners and losers of the election than on       the United States and Europe will be reviewed
political issues by searching for occurrences of    in the following section in order to provide an
a so called “game metaframe” in newspaper           overview of the theories and studies this paper
articles. A game metaframe is a way of us-          is based on.
ing metaphors to explain politics in terms of
a game (i.e. a soccer match or other sporting       1.1. Previous research
event). In other words, a metaphor explicat-
ing politics as a game carry all meanings of        This paper is on politics in the media, more
the word game. For example, a game can be           precisely on how the media frame or present
won or lost, strategies can be successful or be     election news in Denmark. Framing has to
faulty, a politician may be ahead or behind or      do with choosing the language to define a de-
attack and defend. Newspaper articles are typ-      bate, which is often is done using metaphors.
ically structured around either a game or an is-    Metaphors in language is studied by the cog-
sue metaframe. A game metaframe is defined          nitive linguist George Lakoff, who states that
by Thomas E. Patterson as a schematic frame-        metaphors are not devices of language but
work in which candidates compete for advan-         of concepts. In other words, metaphors ap-
tage (Patterson, 1993, 57). Game metaframes         pear in language not because the language it-
are further referred to as news stories that        self is metaphorical but because that is how
frame politics in “terms of a game or strategy      we conceive the issues or themes we are dis-
not related to issue positions” (Strömback &       cussing (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, 6). In fact,
Shehata, 2007). In contrast, issue metaframes       Lakoff claims that human thought processes
can be found in articles on political viewpoints    are largely metaphorical and the very reason
of a candidate or a party, or for example, so-      that metaphors exist in linguistic expressions
cial welfare, civil rights or tax policy. Arti-     is that there are metaphors present in our con-
cles will be analyzed for either the issue or the   ceptual system (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, 6).
game metaframe in order to determine whether        Lakoff demonstrates that many everyday ex-
Metroexpress focused on issues or on wins and       pression are metaphorical concepts. Exam-
losses. This leads to my research question:         ples of these expressions are ’His argument
                                                    is shut down’, ’Your claims are indefensible.’
      Was the news coverage of the                  and ’I’ve never won an argument with him’.
      Danish election for parliament in             These expressions might all sound quite nor-
      2011 in Metroexpress based on the             mal and not metaphorical at all, but in fact all
      metaphorical game metaframe                   of these expressions are instances of the con-
      (Patterson, 1993), which stresses             ceptual metaphor ’Argument is war’ (Lakoff
      politics as a game with winners               & Johnson, 1980, 5). Lakoff has also con-
tributed to the field of political framing in an       cuss his policy with the students and townsfolk
article from 2003 called ”Framing the Dems             who came to meet him. However, articles re-
- How conservatives control political debate           porting on the speech focused largely on Clin-
and how progressives can take it back” (Lakoff,        ton’s strategy and how he was doing in rela-
2003). The article discusses how the conserva-         tion to other candidates and did not include
tives in the U.S. control the debate by employ-        any of his political viewpoints. Research on
ing frames based on metaphors. One of the              politics and the media has also been carried
frames discussed is ’Tax relief’, which actually       out in Europe, in particular by the Swedish
presupposes the metaphor that taxes are an             researcher Jesper Strömback. Strömback in-
’affliction’ or a ’disease’ and that the ’afflicted’   vestigates the media’s use of game metaframes
needs to be saved by the ’hero’ (in this case          when reporting on politics in a series of com-
the Conservative party), from the ’evil villain’       parative studies (Strömback & Shehata, 2007;
(in this case the Democratic party) (Lakoff,           Strömback & Aalberg, 2008; Strömback & van
2003). ’Tax relief’ is just another way of say-        Aelst, 2010). Each of the studies compare
ing ’Taxes are bad and you shouldn’t have to           game metaframes used in Swedish media com-
pay them. Vote for us and we will relieve you          pared to other European nations. Strömback
of your burden.’ Metaphors used in politics            and Shehata (Strömback & Shehata, 2007)
is also studied by Thomas E. Patterson, who            searched for the presence of game metaframes
wrote the book “Out of Order” (Patterson,              in Swedish and British newspapers in the elec-
1993), in which he studies the media cover-            tions in 2002 and 2005 and found that game
age of past presidential elections in the United       frames were present in 50 percent of the ar-
States. However, Patterson focuses on how the          ticles analyzed in Sweden and in more than
media uses metaphors to frame political arti-          60 percent of the articles analyzed in the UK.
cles rather than how politicians use it to set         Strömback then carried out a similar study
their agenda. Patterson states that there are          with Toril Aalberg comparing presence of game
two ways of writing an article about politics.         frames in newspaper articles with Sweden and
One way is to report on issues, another way is         Norway. They found that 66 percent of the
to frame the article using a game schema (Pat-         articles analyzed in Norway were based on
terson, 1993, 58). A game schema presupposes           a game frame (Strömback & Aalberg, 2008).
the metaphor that ’Politics is a game’ and it          Finally, Strömback carried a study with Pe-
is then possible to construct linguistic expres-       ter van Aelst comparing the presence of game
sions explicating politics as a game in much           frames in newspaper articles in Sweden and
the same way as the metaphors ’Argument is             Belgium. They found that the game frame was
war’ and ’Tax relief’ are used. Patterson found        present in more than 68 percent of the articles
that during the presidential election of 1992 ar-      analyzed in Belgian papers (Strömback & van
ticles largely reported solely on the outcome,         Aelst, 2010). Game frames have not been much
that is, how is the candidate doing in the polls       researched in Denmark. However, this topic is
in relation to other candidates and what kind          currently being researched by a Danish PhD
of strategies will he employ to beat his oppo-         student at the University of Copenhagen but
nents, rather than reporting on political con-         results of his research is only found in a news-
tent. Patterson exemplifies this by reviewing          paper article from March 2011. His research
articles written after a speech held Bill Clinton,     indicates that more than 20 percent of the ar-
who was presidential candidate at the time,            ticles in Metroexpress (the newspaper used for
at the University of Syracuse. The speech              this study) are based on a game frame (Peder-
was 22 minutes long and contained his ideas            sen, 2011). He is expected to publish an aca-
on an economic-recovery plan, health care and          demic article on the subject in the European
student-loans, just to name a few. He stepped          Journal of Communication in the first quarter
down from the podium after the speech to dis-          of 2012 and was not available for discussion in

Sønderborg Papers in Linguistics and Communication # 2                                               3
the current paper. Together, the studies pre-      apply as well) and is then transferred into an
sented in this section lay the foundation for my   abstract meaning: “Villy made an error in the
research method which is presented in the next     ’game’ of politics”. The example is taken from
section.                                           one of the articles analyzed and references to
                                                   it can by found in appendix A. The method is
                                                   applied to all articles in order to identify and
2. Method and Data                                 count metaphors explicating politics as a game.
                                                   It is useful for determining whether articles in
2.1. Method                                        Metroexpress focused on winners and losers or
                                                   on issues.
My research method for this paper helps me
to determine whether a given article is framed     Articles are then further analyzed for the pres-
as a game or as an issue. The method relies        ence of a ’horse race frame’. The horse race
on identifying and counting metaphors and has      frame refers to “news story focused on opin-
been developed by the German sociolinguist         ion polls and winning and losing in the bat-
Rudolph Schmitt (Schmitt, 2005). He bases his      tle for votes”(Strömback & Shehata, 2007).
method on Lakoff’s definition of a metaphor        Horse race framing is defined as“the tendency
(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), which is:                to treat elections as if they were sporting
                                                   events where the paramount goal is to get
     “A metaphor is understanding and              across the finish line in first place” (Patter-
     experiencing one kind of thing in             son, 2005). The horse race frame is like the
     terms of another”                             game metaframe based on a metaphor. The
                                                   metaphor seems appropriate since a horse in
Schmitt’s method consists of three rules iden-
                                                   a horse race is judged by its speed in com-
tifying metaphors:
                                                   parison to the speed of other horses in much
                                                   the same way political parties are “judged”
                                                   by the media in the battle for votes. The
  1. ”A word or phrase, strictly-                  horse race frame share many characteristics
     speaking, can be understood beyond            with the game metaframe but they are not
     the literal meaning in context of             identical. The horse race frame looks at the
     what is being said; and                       individual clauses and linguistic expressions
                                                   within an article, whereas the game metaframe
  2. The literal meaning stems from an             looks at an article as a whole and then deter-
     area of physical or cultural experi-          mines which metaframe is the dominant one.
     ence (source area)                            For example, the game metaframe either dom-
                                                   inates an article or not. In contrast, the horse
  3. Which, however, is - in this con-
                                                   race frame may be present in articles that also
     text - transferred to a second, often
                                                   contain other frames, such as “political strat-
     abstract, area (target area).”
                                                   egy frame”, the “politicians as individuals”
                                                   or the “governing frame” (Strömback & She-
The following example is found in one of the       hata, 2007). These frames will not be searched
articles analyzed: “...det var en fodfejl fra      for in this paper since they don’t help to an-
Villy...” is understood beyond its literal mean-   swer the research question. Horse race frames
ing in that “Villy” didn’t physically put his      are often found in articles dominated by the
foot at a wrong place but actually made an         game metaframe but may also be found in ar-
error (he made some statements in the press        ticles dominated by the issue metaframe. The
that made his party fall back in the polls).       horse race frame is useful for determining how
The literal meaning stems from a game (tennis,     much Metroexpress focused on the winners and
tabletennis and boxing, but other sports may       losers. The game metaframe and the horse race
frame are both exemplified in the data section. be won or lost. That ’something’ is then the
                                                 debate between Lars Løkke Rasmussen and
                                                 Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the two top candi-
2.2. Data
                                                 dates for Venstre and Socialdemokratiet re-
Data for this study consist of articles from the spectively. The debate is adversarial and the
Danish newspaper Metroexpress. This news- debaters are not simply presenting their view
paper was chosen because it is the most well of the world but are presented as “attempting
distributed newspaper in Denmark (Danmarks to defeat opponents” (Billig, 1996, 48). The
Statistik, 2011a) and because the newspaper is debate is in the next clause framed as a race
read throughout Danish society across diffrent (which is understood as a game) by using the
genders, levels of income and levels of educa- Danish noun ’løb’, which translates directly
tion (Metroexpress, 2011). Articles for analy- to ’race’. The debate was in fact no race at
sis were selected on the basis of two criteria. all, both debaters were standing still the entire
Firstly, the articles had to have some political time! The debate is then understood beyond
story or relate to the election for parliament. the literal meaning, which stems from a physi-
Secondly, the articles had to be featured on cal or cultural experience (a race) and is in this
the front page of the newspaper. However, ar- context transferred into an abstract meaning
ticles with interviews were discarded. This se- (politics is a race) (Schmitt, 2005). However,
lection method is inspired by the method used the second example is not understood beyond
by Strömback and Shehata in their 2007 arti- its literal meaning. In other words there is no
cle “Structural Biases in British and Swedish “experiencing one thing in terms of another”
Election News Coverage” (Strömback & She- (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980).
hata, 2007). Articles are analyzed for the The following example shows how the horse
game metaframe on a dominance basis. In race frame is found and identified. It is found
other words, the dominant metaframe (issue on a presence/absence basis. The horse race
or game) was determined for each article.        frame does not exclude other frames, but is
                                                 the only one that answers the question of how
Example of Game Metaframe:                       much Metroexpress focused on the winners and
                                                 losers of the election.
       Lars Løkke blev aftenens vinder,
       men det var meget, meget tæt løb          Example of Horse Race Frame:
Source: Metroexpress Friday, September 9th,
“Det var en knaldgod debat”
                                                                    ...og nærmer sig nu de Radikale,
                                                                    som står til 8,9 % af stemmerne
                                                             Source: Source: Metroexpress Tuesday, August 30th, “Johanne
Example of Issue Metaframe:                                  står til kanonvalg”

       Dansk Folkepartis leder, Pia                          The example shown in the example above is a
       Kjærsgård har tidligere været                        prototypical example of a horse race frame. It
       fortaler for en uændret efterløn                      reports on political news based on a poll. In
Source: Metroexpress Wednesday, August 31st, “Rød blok vil
                                                             fact, the first example was also a very typical
have DF til at redde efterløn”                               example of a horse race frame. It depicts, as
                                                             mentioned, the debate as a race. All examples
The first example is taken from a report of                  are taken from my analysis of newspaper arti-
a TV-debate. The example shows how the                       cles in Metroexpress. All articles used in the
journalist uses the game metaframe to report                 analysis are listed in Appendix A. Articles cho-
on the debate. The game metaframe is iden-                   sen for analysis totalled 31. Of those 31 articles
tified in the first clause of the first example              six were discarded, because they were either
that states that there is something that can                 interviews or had no political content. One

Sønderborg Papers in Linguistics and Communication # 2                                                                5
article consisted exclusively of pictures. Af-     the game metaframe in the final week whereas
ter eliminating these articles, 25 articles were   only one fourth of the articles are dominated
left for analysis. The articles were found in      by the game metaframe in the first week of the
Metroexpress in the three weeks leading up to      election campaign. The articles were then fur-
the election (the newspaper is not published       ther analyzed for the presence of the horse race
on neither Saturday nor Sunday)                    frame. The analysis is divided in two parts.
The method described and exemplified in this       The first part looked for the presence of the
section is useful for gaining a quick overview     horse race frame in each article. This part of
of how the written press reports on the elec-      the analysis shows that the horse race frame
tion. Furthermore, this method makes it pos-       was present in nine articles. It is presented in
sible to expand the research at a later point      Table 2.
to include more articles from more newspapers
and to compare the results from this research       Table 2: Presence of the Horse Race Frame
with other similar studies.                              Frame          Articles    Percent
                                                         Horse Race             9       36 %
3. Results
                                                  The second part of the analysis looked at how
The results from analyzing the data show that frequently the horse frame was used. Results
the game metaframe indeed is present in arti- of the analysis is shown in Table 3.
cles when Metroexpress reports on politics or
                                                  Table 3: Number of Occurrences of the Horse
the election. The results reveal that nine of
                                                  Race Frame
the articles (or 36 percent) were metaframed
as a game. This indicates that although arti-              Statistical analysis Result
cles metaframed as a game were not more com-
                                                           Mean                     3,9
mon than articles metaframed as issues, there
                                                           Median                     7
still was much focus on winners and losers of
                                                           Mode                       3
the election since one third of the articles were
dominated by the game metaframe.                           Total                    35

   Table 1: Game Frames and Issue Frame             Table 3 shows that the horse race frame was
                                                    used 35 times in just nine articles. It fur-
                                                    ther shows that the horse race frame occurred
        Week        Issue Game Total
                                                    on the average almost four times in each arti-
                   Frame Frame
                                                    cle, but that three occurrences per article were
        Week 1        6        2         8          most frequent. These results reveal that al-
        Week 2        4        2         6          though game metaframing is not more dom-
        Week 3        6        5        11          inant than issue metaframing in the articles
        All          16        9       25           analyzed, game metaframes are still dominant
        weeks                                       in more than one third of the articles. In
                                                    addition, all articles dominated by the game
                                                    metaframe also contained the horse race frame
The table shows that the game frame is dom- that focuses on winners and losers.
inant in two articles (25 percent) in the first
week of the election campaign, again in two ar-
ticles (33,3 percent) in the second week and in 4. Discussion
five articles (45,5 percent) in the third and final
week of the election campaign. In perspective, The aim of this paper was to find out whether
almost half of the articles are dominated by Metroexpress applied the game frame defined
by Thomas E. Patterson (Patterson, 1993) and       the tabloid-format, both papers contain rel-
thereby focused on winners and losers in the       atively short articles and cultural content is
three weeks of the election for parliament in      valued higher than political content. How-
2011. The game frame was found dominant            ever, free daily newspapers are distributed for
in a little more than one third of the articles    free at traffical nerve centers, in subways, train
analyzed. This result is in contrast to what       stations and at universities, whereas tabloid
the Danish PhD student Rasumus Tue Ped-            papers are sold in kiosks and through sub-
ersen has found out in his study. He has re-       scriptions, which means that the two types of
vealed some of his results in a newspaper arti-    newspapers possibly have very different read-
cle (Pedersen, 2011) in the Danish newspaper       erships. Tabloid newspapers in Sweden are
Berlingske Tidende. His results indicate that      reported to make more use of game frames
only 20 percent of articles in Metroexpress are    than morning papers (Strömback & Shehata,
metaframed as a game. However his research is      2007). Research on game frames in these two
done more than six months before the election      types of papers should be conducted in Den-
for parliament, whereas data from my study         mark in order to do a meaningful comparison
are collected in the three weeks prior to the      with Strömback’s research. As a matter of
election. The difference in our result and time    fact, such research is already being conducted
of study indicate that occurrence of the game      by the Danish PhD student Rasmus Tue Ped-
frame becomes more frequent the closer we get      ersen, but as mentioned earlier only prelimi-
to an election. This suggestion seems to be        nary results have been published. The results
supported by the data presented in Table 1.        show that the tabloids are indeed more prone
The table shows that the percentage of articles    to use the game metaframe than the morning
dominated by the game metaframe were larger        papers are (Pedersen, 2011). There is a rea-
in the final week of the election than at the      sonable explanation why tabloids use the game
beginning of the campaign. Further research        metaframe more than other types of news-
may also help to explain the difference be-        papers. Tabloids are more competitive than
tween my results and the results of the Swedish    morning papers since they compete to be the
researcher Jesper Strømback. Strømback has         first out with a sensational story. Competitive-
found evidence for the presence of game frame      ness is what drives the game metaframe (Pat-
in more than 50 percent of the articles analyzed   terson, 2000). In other words, the occurrence
up to the Swedish election in 2002. There may      of game frames increases or decreases propor-
be several reasons for the difference between      tionally to the commercialism and competi-
my results and the results found by Strömback.    tiveness of a newspaper. The media as a busi-
Strömback’s research is based on data from        ness has in Denmark gone through a tremen-
165 articles from four newspapers whereas my       dous evolution from a monopolistic partisan
data consist of 25 articles from one newspaper.    biased system to a commercialised and com-
Hence, my data says more about Metroexpress        petitive system. That the media system today
and the way they write articles than provid-       is a competitive system means that especially
ing a general tendency in the Danish writ-         the written media compete for readers not only
ten press. In addition, the four papers ana-       with other newspapers but also with televi-
lyzed by Strömback are divided in the two cat-    sion and providers of on-line content. This
egories tabloid (sensational newspapers) and       tendency applies especially to tabloids. How-
morning papers (”serious/broadsheet newspa-        ever, this was not always the case. The written
pers”). However, Metroexpress does not fall        media in Denmark consisted up to the 1960’s
into either category. It is a free daily newspa-   of four newspapers that each expressed the
per that shares some qualities with a tabloid      viewpoint of the four existing political parties;
newspaper. Some of these qualities are that        “Venstre”, “Det konservative folkeparti”, “So-
both types of newspapers are published in          cialdemokraterne” and “Det radikale venstre”.

Sønderborg Papers in Linguistics and Communication # 2                                             7
In contrast, Denmark has today 35 daily news-        race frames in newspaper articles are related
papers (Danmarks Statistik, 2010), although          to voter turnout during elections.
the four original newspapers still have a remote
connection with the four political parties. As a
consequence of the increased competition, each       4.1. Future Research
newspaper has fewer resources available. As a
                                                     This paper has revealed some facts on a very
result, one can assume that newspapers and
                                                     small scale in the Danish media in relation to
especially tabloids don’t spend a lot of time
                                                     the election for parliament in 2011. Unfor-
on research or background information when
                                                     tunately, the paper asks more questions than
writing articles. Writing an article about polit-
                                                     it answers. For example, it found some ten-
ical issues is time consuming, it is much easier
                                                     dencies in Metroexpress. Do these tendencies
and quicker to just apply the game metaframe
                                                     also apply to other newpapers or other types
(Pedersen, 2011). Some journalist use polling
                                                     of media (e.g. television, Internet, etc.)? An-
data instead of field research when reporting
                                                     other question is what factors motivate the use
on an election or politics in general. Polls were
                                                     of game metaframes and horse race frames in
used extensively during the election in 2011
                                                     the media, are these factors related to the type
and up to four different institutes took polls ev-
                                                     of media, competitiveness of the media, com-
ery day of the election (Berlingske, 2011). Polls
                                                     petitiveness of the election, or something else?
fuel horse race journalism and focus on who’s
                                                     A third question is what the relationship be-
ahead and who’s behind in winning the elec-
                                                     tween the use of game metaframes and horse
tion (Patterson, 2005). Horse race frames were
                                                     race frames and voter turnout is in Danish elec-
found as much as 35 times in nine articles. The
                                                     tions for parliament. These are all important
nine articles that contained the horse frames
                                                     question that this paper could not answer due
coincided with the nine articles dominated by
                                                     to its size, scope and time available.
the game metaframe. This shows that the ex-
tensive use of polling data influences the way
articles are written. These results are cause
for concern, since they indicate that there is       5. Conclusion
much focus on the game of politics rather than
political issues in the Danish written media.        The aim of this paper was to find out whether
Focus on the game of politics is problematic         the news coverage by Metroexpress was based
in the sense that it turns voters into passive       on the metaphorical game frame discussed
viewers. The voters then ’watch’ politics in         by Thomas Patterson in his book “Out of
much the same way they watch a soccer match          order”(Patterson, 1993). The metaphorical
(Pedersen, 2011). This process may then lead         game metaframe was found to be present in
to a lower voter turnout since the voters treat      the election coverage by Metroexpress in one
the election and politics in general as some-        third of the articles featured on the front page
thing they watch, not something they partici-        of Metroexpress in the three weeks of the elec-
pate in. However, the voter turnout in Den-          tion campaign. Furthermore, the articles also
mark does not seem to have been much af-             contained 35 references to the horse race frame
fected. The voter turnout for the election in        that focus on winners and losers. This lead
2011 was nearly 87 percent, compared to 85           to the conclusion that the newspaper indeed
percent in 2007 (Danmarks Statistik, 2011b).         focused much attention on who was ahead
However, voter turnout is also affected by other     and who was behind in the election campaign.
factors than by how articles in newspapers are       Data presented in this paper suggest a ten-
written. Therefore, further research should be       dency that game metaframes become more fre-
carried out in order to find out how closely         quent with an election approaching. This ten-
the presence of game metaframes and horse            dency should be investigated further in order
                                                     to be confirmed. Finally, this paper raised
some questions that could initiate further re- Patterson, T. E. 1993. Out of order . Vintage
search.                                          Books.

                                                 Patterson, T. E. 2000. Democrazy and the
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Sønderborg Papers in Linguistics and Communication # 2                                               9
Appendix A: Articles Used for Analysis
Front pages of Metroexpress were analyzed for articles with political content from three weeks
before the election. The articles used were published in Metroexpress between August 30th
2011 and September 15th 2011.

      Article Title                                      Published               Metaframe
      S og SF: Minister skyld i DSB-krise                August 30th 2011        Issue
      Unge vælgere vil have troværdige politikere        August 30th 2011        Issue
      S og SF lover ikke noget                           August 30th 2011        Game
      Johanne står til kanonvalg                        August 30th 2011        Game
      Rød blok vil have DF til at redde efterløn         August 31st 2011        Issue
      Arbejdsløse unge er en ny regerings største ud-    September 1st 2011      Issue
      Væksttal er en gave til Løkke                      September   1st 2011    Issue
      Magre økonomiske år venter forude                 September   1st 2011    Issue
      Praktikgaranti fører DF over til rød blok          September   2nd 2011    Issue
      Strid i rød blok truer valgsejr                    September   6th 2011    Game
      Ekspert: Politikere frygter EU uden grund          September   6th 2011    Issue
      S-SF: Lægebesøg må ikke koste noget               September   7th 2011    Issue
      Psykiatrien kan forbedres uden penge               September   7th 2011    Issue
      Supertvivlerne deler sig mellem rød og blå blok   September   7th 2011    Game
      Det var en knaldgod debat                          September   9th 2011    Game
      Søvndal: VK’s løftebrud har kostet menneskeliv     September   13th 2011   Issue
      Alle vil bare stemme på Johanne                   September   13th 2011   Game
      Rød duo taber flyvehøjde                           September   14th 2011   Game
      Ro på rygeloven                                   September   14th 2011   Issue
      Kulturen deler blokkene                            September   14th 2011   Issue
      Rød blok vil investere i kulturlivet               September   14th        Issue
      Ørum kan blive Løkkes joker                        September   15th 2011   Game
      Landet skal styres af rene amatører                September   15th 2011   Issue
      Valget bliver endeligt farvel til blokpolitik      September   15th 2011   Issue
      Den eneste rigtige meningsmåling                  September   15th 2011   Game

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