Media Framing of The Double-murder Suicide of World Wrestling Entertainment Star Chris Benoit

Open Access
Author:
Ramesar, Jason
Graduate Program:
Media Studies
Degree:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 17, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Marie Hardin, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • WWE
  • Media
  • Journalists
  • Benoit
  • Framing
  • Domestic Violence
  • Concussions
  • steroids
  • PEDs
  • Professional Wrestling
Abstract:
This study examines the use of various frames in newspaper coverage of professional wrestler Chris Benoit’s double murder-suicide and how the crime was used by journalists in framing professional wrestling and the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). A content analysis of 133 articles from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Associated Press, The Miami Herald, The New York Times, and The Sun-Sentinel was used for the study. Articles gathered for the sample began on the day of the crime, June 25, 2007 to one year later. Crosstab analysis revealed that a frame that made performance-enhancing drugs central to the narrative was prominent in print media coverage. The use of a domestic violence frame was absent from the majority of news coverage used for this study. Professional wrestling, as well as World Wrestling Entertainment, did not seem to be framed negatively in relationship to the Benoit crimes.