Articles by: Kristen Bodossian and Otto Santa Ana
George W. Bush inadvertently created a public maelstrom in January 2004, when he proposed a new temporary worker program and a road to citizenship for millions of unauthorized immigrants. By 2006, immigration had become the major issue on the nation’s political agenda. The last time this happened was in 1994, when California voters passed Proposition 187, which would have denied unauthorized immigrants many public benefits and required state employees (including health care workers and school teachers) to point authorities to “apparently illegal aliens.”
As gauged by old-fashioned- journalistic content analysis-which simply counts the number of words, headline size, and other plainly observable elements of newspaper copy-the Los Angeles Times' coverage of Prop. 187 was balanced. But such analysis is limited. According to recent research in cognitive science, common metaphor appears to be the key element of language that people use to make sense of their social world. In brief, what you say (or read) is what you get.