Political Issues Management: Framing the Issue of Climate Change

Meaghan McKasy, Diana Zulli


Politicians must identify and present issues in ways that resonate with the public, effectively establishing their legitimacy as issue managers. This public relations concept has primarily been studied in the corporate context. By bridging public relations and political communication scholarship, this analysis examines how democratic presidential candidates at CNN’s 2019 climate crisis town hall managed the issue of climate change using fact versus value-based frames, gain/loss frames, and responsibility frames. The results indicate that candidates predominantly used value-based frames, gains were almost exclusively presented in the context of the economy, and candidates were more likely to use prognostic frames over diagnostic responsibility frames when presenting the issue to the public. These findings speak to the value of framing in political issues management.


political issues management, public relations, framing, climate change, primary campaigns

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