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Political identities, presumed definitions, and protean portrayals: representations of the public-private healthcare debate in Canadian print media

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Thesis type
(Project) M.P.H.
Date created
The Canadian debate over public versus private delivery and financing of healthcare has been extensively represented in the news media and is an important issue to the public and policymakers. News media has complex and varied influences on its audiences including informing the public and potentially influencing the policy debate. This study explores the representation of the public-private healthcare debate in three Canadian newspapers over time. Using constructed-week sampling, I selected articles published between September 3, 1985 and February 23, 2009 containing search words related to the debate. I coded articles for content, agenda setting, and framing characteristics. The public-private debate was predominantly represented as a political issue and privatization was framed negatively. The agenda setting potential of the articles suggested a potential duality in the role of news media as potential agenda setters and communication agents for the policy debate.
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