Faculty Publications

Title

Disciplining the workforce: The news media frame a general motors plant closing

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Communication Research

Volume

24

Issue

6

First Page

669

Last Page

697

Abstract

What do the news media identify as the problems, causes, and remedies when a corporate giant threatens two communities with an industrial plant closing that will displace thousands of workers? This article analyzes the narrative frames of national television and print news coverage following a December 1991 announcement by General Motors that it would close either its Arlington, Texas, or Willow Run, Michigan, assembly plant. The analysis extends through the eventual shutdown of the Willow Run plant, which affected more than 4,000 workers, and the continuing downsizing of the Arlington plant. News story texts commonly invoked a frame that suggests citizens have no choice but to adapt to difficult but necessary business decisions. The news stories ignored or discredited any democratic public action that challenged or offered alternatives to the plant closing and downsizing.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1997

DOI of published version

10.1177/0093650297024006004

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