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Recent surveys have shown that most evangelical Christians in Canada believe that the news media treat them unfairly. This study empirically tested the validity of the evangelicals’ charge against the media by examining the frames used in the nightly, national news reports of Global, CBC and CTV television networks. An analysis of all reports featuring evangelicals showed that neutral and positive frames, together, were almost equal in strength and number to negative frames used; this resulted in an overall rating of “balanced” for the coverage.

While overall the coverage was balanced, the frequency and exclusivity of certain negative frames elevated their saliency considerably. For example, the “evangelicals as intolerant” frame alone appeared in one quarter of all reports. Regarding topic of the news reports, evangelicals most often received coverage for involvement in politics followed closely by involvement in criminal or immoral actions. Implications of these results are discussed.


This article was originally published in Journal of Communication and Religion, 30(1): 118-152. © 2007 Religious Communication Association. Reproduced with permission