To Tell the Truth: Keys in Newspaper Portrayals of the Public During Food Scares
Sarathchandra, Dilshani; Ten Eyck, Toby A. Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of MultidisciplinaryResearch, Volume 16, Number 1, March 2013 , pp. 107-124(18)
Numerous food scares have become news in recent years, a situation that could lead to questions concerning the due diligence of those supplying food to consumers. This study looks at how various actors tied to the food supply, including producers, processors, retailers and government agencies, have tried to transition news coverage of food scares into something that matches their interests or which places the blame for problems elsewhere. Using Goffman’s notion of keys, we investigate the ways in which the public was portrayed during three food scares-Alar, mad cow disease and genetic engineering-to understand how claimsmakers were reshaping press coverage of these crises. Findings show that while some coverage has changed over the years and across issues-from the public needing protection in the 1980s to being concerned in the late 1990s-keys have been used by actors in these stories to highlight roles that were necessary to protect a public that is unable to fend for itself when food becomes risky.