Hear No Evil, See No Evil: Motivated Reasoning, Drone Warfare, and the Effects of Message Framing on US Public Opinion

Charles M. Rowling, Joan M. Blauwkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted a poll with a survey-experimental design to examine whether variations in how the US policy of drone warfare was framed significantly impacted public support. Consistent with scholarship on motivated reasoning and valence framing, we find that respondents could be primed to express significantly greater or lesser support based on questions that either affirmed or challenged: the strategic value, international legality, domestic legality, or technological capability of drone strikes or whether they cause collateral damage. While affirming the policy generally had insignificant effects on opinion reports, compared to the control group, challenges to the policy produced significant decreases in American support for drone warfare. These results illustrate the importance of exposing citizens to contested discourse on controversial public policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberedab030
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • drone warfare
  • framing effects
  • motivated reasoning
  • public opinion
  • valence framing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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