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Familial risk for psychosis may interact with environmental risk factors.
We are studying a large birth cohort of children of mothers with psychotic disorders, themselves at high risk of developing a psychotic illness, to understand the developmental aetiology of psychotic illness.
Our aim is to examine whether exposure to environmental stressors in childhood, including timing of exposure, is a risk factor for psychotic illness, independent of familial liability. Specificity to maternal schizophrenia is explored.
We used record-linkage across state-wide registers (midwives, psychiatric, child protection and mortality, among others) to identify 15,486 offspring born in Western Australia 1980–2001 to mothers with a lifetime history of psychotic illness (case children) and compared them with 452,459 offspring born in the same period to mothers with no known psychiatric history (comparison children).
A total of 4.1% of case children had developed a psychotic illness compared to 1.1% of comparison children. Exposure to environmental risk factors including obstetric complications, aboriginality, lower socioeconomic status, discontinuity in parenting and childhood abuse significantly increased risk of psychotic illness in offspring. Length and age at time of discontinuity in parenting impacted on risk. At the same time, case children were also significantly more likely than comparison children to be at risk of experiencing these adverse life events.
Exposure to environmental stressors is associated with psychotic illness, and timing of exposure is important. However, children already at increased familial risk for psychotic illness are also at increased risk of experiencing these environmental stressors.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Echinacea purpurea is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs that is of interest to animal scientists due to its valuable immuno-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. It is thought that it activates the immune system through stimulating T-cell production, lymphocytic activity, phagocytosis, cellular respiration and inhibiting the secretion of the hyaluronidase enzyme. Chicoric acid (CA) is a major active constituent of Echinacea purpurea. The CA content in roots ranges between 16.80-24.30 mg/g which has gained a lot of renown due to its promising bio-activities. CA has shown to simulate growth promoters and have antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV, anti-bacterial, hypoglycaemic and hepatocyte protective properties. There have been very few studies relevant to CA and its use in poultry diets. Previously published studies have included pharmacological and nutritional investigations in the poultry industry. CA could be used as an alternative to antibiotics, and may improve meat quality and health status in broiler chickens.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
Tolerance toward extreme groups was measured by asking respondents for their level of agreement with the following statements: “I feel sorry for groups that are the targets of FBI surveillance,” “the media should give extremist groups the opportunity to express their views,” “a group that is targeted by the FBI probably deserves the treatment it gets” (reverse-coded), and “the media should not encourage extremist groups by providing news coverage” (reverse-coded). Tolerance toward extreme groups was constructed by averaging respondents’ answers on a 10-point scale (Cronbach’s alpha = .75, M = 6.00, SD = 1.77).
Tolerance for Targeted Group Index
Tolerance for the targeted group was operationalized with an additive index of four statements taken from Marcus et al. (1995), but modified to fit the current social context. Subjects were asked how they felt about a set of statements regarding the treatment of the hypothetical group that had appeared on the manipulation stories: group members should be allowed to work as a teacher in public schools, hold public rallies, broadcast public access cable programs, and share their views over the Internet. Items were measured on 10-point scales from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” Responses were used to create an index averaging the scores from these items (Cronbach’s α = .77, M = 7.12, SD = 1.86).
According to the coding scheme, coders focused exclusively on manifest content in order to establish a high degree of reliability in coding three factors: the degrees of differentiation (i.e., the number of discrete cognitive categories mentioned), the average elaboration (i.e., the extent of detail provided for each mentioned category), and integration (i.e., the interconnectedness of the various cognitive categories mentioned) in the answers provided by respondents.
The coding instrument asked coders to focus on nine conceptual categories that had been identified from a preliminary examination of the open-ended responses. To establish differentiation, coders were asked to judge which constructs were present in an explicit fashion in each answer. For example, if a respondent mentioned in her answer the “importance of ensuring due process for all,” this would have been coded as one construct (category #6: rights/constitution/freedoms). If in addition to mentioning due process, the respondent wrote about the threats posed to national security by the activities of certain groups and the need to ensure public safety, the coder, recognizing the presence of a second construct (category #5: national security/safety), would give this response a value of 2 in terms of construct differentiation.
In addition to the number of constructs present in the answer, coders were asked to rate the degree of elaboration for each concept that was present. Following the example given, just mentioning the importance of due process would have been coded as low in elaboration. A one-sentence explanation of due process would have received a medium elaboration grade, while an extended explanation of due process (two sentences or more on the subject) would have been coded as high on elaboration.
“Our enemies operate secretly and they seek to attack us from within. In this new kind of war, it is both necessary and appropriate for us to take all possible steps to locate our enemy and know what they are plotting before they strike.”
– U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee February 6, 2006
“I know for an absolute fact that we have not been involved in anything related to promoting terrorism, and yet the government has collected almost 1,200 pages on our activities. Why is the ACLU now the subject of scrutiny from the FBI?”
– Anthony. D. Romero ACLU Executive Director July 16, 2005
As the United States government took actions to engage in surveillance of activist groups, the discourse surrounding this action straddled both sides of the national security/civil liberties dichotomy. Some officials, such as Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (quoted above), made the argument that such government activities are necessary to protect the safety and security of the American public. On the other hand, civil rights advocates such as Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s Executive Director, questioned whether activist group surveillance wasn’t motivated by political rather than security concerns. As discussed earlier, this national security/civil liberties debate was played out for public consumption through the mass media. Audience members seeking to understand the debate over government surveillance activities had to make judgments about what was happening on the basis of information reported in the media. This led us to ask questions about how the audience would make sense of this controversy in response to the news stories that they encounter.
In this chapter, we examine how different frames used to construct such new stories affect audience understanding and cognitions. As we noted in Chapter 1, frames are likely to affect people differently according to the predispositions that they bring to the processing of news stories. As such, this chapter examines the interplay of news frames and political predispositions on audience reactions to news stories. For this analysis, we used data from the Activist Study in which research participants read news stories about the surveillance of political advocacy groups under the USA PATRIOT Act.
“Police arrested an American-born Muslim in St. Louis early Sunday and took him to a police station where FBI agents questioned him about his anti-war activities and whether he was planning any attacks against the U.S. government. Bret Darren Lee, whose Muslim name is Umar ben-Livan, said…he is active in Muslim and anti-war groups and acknowledged that he holds views that may be considered outside the political mainstream. But Lee said he is far from a terrorist.…While Lee was still in custody, FBI agents returned to Lee’s apartment about noon Sunday and spent a half-hour questioning his wife about whether he was a terrorist, his thoughts about the Taliban, and whether he was planning to take part in any more anti-war protests.”
– Phillip O’Connor St. Louis Post-Dispatch February 11, 2003
“An FBI counterterrorism unit monitored and apparently infiltrated a peace group [the Thomas Merton Center] in Pittsburgh that opposed the invasion of Iraq, according to internal agency documents released Tuesday.…The documents make no mention of illegal activities, noting only that the group advocated ‘pacifism,’ opposed an invasion of Iraq, doubted the U.S. rationale for war, and had ties to an Islamic group with no known links to terrorism. The disclosure raised new questions about the extent to which federal authorities have been conducting surveillance operations against Americans since the Sept. 11 attacks.”
– Jonathan S. Landsay Knight Ridder Newspapers March 15, 2006
The quotes above are from news stories that reflect the central theme of this book: the tension between the contending values of protecting national security and defending civil liberties. Both stories involve actions by the FBI as part of the War on Terror that are seen by some as expanding the scope of surveillance to include groups that are not threats to national security. Both deal with activists who have connections to Muslim groups, but apparently have no linkages to terrorism. Yet they also differ in important ways – ways that highlight the effects of message frames that we explore in the studies reported in this book.
“While the FBI possesses no information indicating that violent or terrorist activities are being planned as part of these protests, the possibility exists that elements of the activist community may attempt to engage in violent, destructive, or dangerous acts.”
– New York Times Bulletin October 15, 2003
“‘Anti-terrorist’ legislation has been adopted in a number of western countries which allows for the arrest and detention without charge of alleged terrorists, including leaders of so-called ‘domestic radical groups’ (meaning antiwar activists), who are now categorized as a threat to Homeland Security.”
– Michel Chossudovsky Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa December 21, 2005
The above passages illustrate how the focus of the government’s antiterrorism activities included political activist groups, who were being considered as a threat to national security. Documented cases of government surveillance and infiltration of nonviolent activist groups, including the Occupy movement, and the dragnet monitoring of Americans revealed by Edward Snowden (as detailed in Chapter 2) substantiate concern that the USA PATRIOT Act is being used to infringe on the privacy and due process rights of citizens, including political activists who may stake out extreme positions on issues but are not suspected of criminal activities.
Public response to this range of government surveillance activities is likely to be shaped by how they are portrayed by the media. We argue that the nature of news coverage about civil liberties controversies has the potential to sway individuals’ security concerns and social tolerance judgments. Our theory builds on past research that finds contemporary information works in combination with citizens’ political predispositions to shape the level of support for civil liberties (Marcus et al., 1995). However, this past research focused only on how individuals respond when confronted with disliked groups, arguing that it is under these conditions that the limits of tolerance are best understood (Sullivan and Marcus, 1988; Sullivan et al., 1979). An unintended consequence of this focus on disliked groups has been a dearth of research on how individuals make these judgments when they confront efforts to restrict the civil liberties of groups whose causes they support, but whose tactics they may oppose. The decision to defend the civil liberties of radicals, even if only for targets toward which one feels some latent sympathy, is a meaningful test of tolerance in the political climate created after 9/11 and typified by the Snowden revelations.
In addition to addressing response-time outliers, we also considered the potential differences in the rate of response as influenced by the individual and technological differences particular to each participant. For example, some people are naturally faster than others in answering questions or have faster Internet connections that may influence baseline response latencies. To control for this, Mulligan et al. (2003) make the following recommendation:
Researchers typically include in their models the latency or average latency on one or more simple, factual, nonpolitical questions considered to be indicative of respondents’ baseline rate of response. Controlling for the baseline speed of response allows researchers to isolate between-respondent differences in response latency on particular survey questions from systematic differences in answering survey questions generally.
Accordingly, time scores used for our analyses were normalized by dividing time spent responding to the item battery by overall time spent completing preexperimental questions.
Following accepted practice in response latency measurement (Mulligan et al., 2003), outliers were assumed not to represent the actual time participants spent in answering questions and, instead, were replaced with corresponding sample mean scores. Although seemingly arbitrary, “trimming the tail of the latency distribution in this manner results in the loss of a very small proportion of the latencies and improves analysis by reducing the signal-to-noise ratio, allowing researchers to assess more clearly associations between accessibility and substantive variables of interest” (Mulligan et al., 2003, p. 293).
“The USA PATRIOT Act and Homeland Security, while aimed at immigrants especially from the Middle East, is a threat to the civil rights and liberties of all people. How do you end racial profiling and stop police racist harassment in this atmosphere? How do you end racist discrimination when someone can be picked up, their phones can be tapped or they can be kicked off airplanes because they look Middle Eastern?”
– Jarvis Tyner Executive Vice Chair, American Communist Party February 16, 2002
“The federal government can and must protect Americans from the threat of terrorism without eroding our constitutional liberties. Today, Arab Americans are especially vulnerable to abuses of government power. Yet ultimately all Americans are put at risk when our rights come under attack. We must work to preserve our constitutional rights and roll back the most egregious infringements of our individual freedoms.”
– Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) 2004
The above quotations share a common concern that the war on terrorism has exacerbated perceptions that people of Arab descent constitute a threat to public safety. Moreover, such threat perceptions have provided an impetus to generate public support for the policies of the USA PATRIOT Act that in turn has threatened the civil liberties of Muslims and Arab-Americans. For most citizens, the mass media provide the primary source of information upon which to base judgments about potential threats. As such, the nature of news coverage and its effects become important concerns for researchers seeking to understand the dynamics of political judgments.
In the discussion of our integrated Message Framing Model (Figure 1.2) in Chapter 1, we noted that news frames and cues have much in common in that they both describe ways in which journalists give meaning to text. They differ in terms of the unit of text to which they are applied. Both frames (i.e., organizing devices used by journalists to structure press accounts) and cues (i.e., the labels used to characterize issues, groups, and figures in the news) have received considerable attention from mass communication researchers interested in understanding how subtle changes in news reports influence audience understanding (Shah et al., 2002).
“After September the eleventh, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al Qaeda or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they’re saying.”
– President George W. Bush May 11, 2006
“Last December, the Times reported that the N.S.A. was listening in on calls between people in the United States and people in other countries, and a few weeks ago USA Today reported that the agency was collecting information on millions of private domestic calls.…The N.S.A. began, in some cases, to eavesdrop on callers (often using computers to listen for key words) or to investigate them using traditional police methods. A government consultant told me that tens of thousands of Americans had had their calls monitored in one way or the other.”
– Seymour M. Hersh The New Yorker May 22, 2006
These opening statements reflect fundamental, yet opposing, concerns in what has been one of the most important postmillennial debates for American democracy, the tradeoff between protecting national security and defending civil liberties. Though this debate has been evident since the dawn of U.S. history, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 raised its intensity to an unprecedented level, as the course of both foreign and domestic policy have been substantially altered. On the international front, these attacks led to protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the home front, and central to the focus of this book, the Bush administration pushed the USA PATRIOT Act (officially titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) through Congress on October 25, 2001, substantially expanding the government’s surveillance powers in ways that were unimagined at the time of its inception. Since that time, the law has been reauthorized twice, first in July 2005 and again in May 2011, with the key provisions now extended until June 2015. This law thrust the debate to the center of the American political stage, as policymakers, activists, and citizens considered the steps taken to prevent another terrorist attack.
“The consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.”
– George Orwell in 1984
“There are many other things that are excluded from the official framing of the ‘global war on terror,’ such as oil, the economy, the deficit, health care, jobs, education, taxes, and the effects of global trade. The implication is that none of these things matter if every American is in mortal danger, even those in the swing states where there’s little to no chance of a terrorist strike. But rationality is not at issue here. People think in terms of frames.”
– George Lakoff Professor of Linguistics at U. of California – Berkeley August 31, 2004
Framing that enhances a sense of danger and threat is a potent tool in the hands of powerholders. If the research presented in this book is any indication, this influence is bestowed by the factors that shape the production of news, not the least of which are the codes and practices of the journalistic profession. When covering the tension between national security and civil liberties – that is, reporting on the government’s massive surveillance powers – journalists tended to construct news reports on that basis of these conventions, emphasizing the conflict between these contending values while trying to find ways to personify and personalize the policy debate. Framing coverage around principled conflicts and individual instances are longstanding news values (Price and Tewksbury, 1997). Although framing news around “rights talk” has been well studied (Shah et al., 1996; Brewer, 2007), in this book we find it is this personification – framing stories in individual as opposed to collective terms – that plays such an important role in shaping the responses of audiences, their thought processes, their mental sophistication, their social tolerance, and their political expression. Such individual framing is a fixture of news construction, particularly when covering “Big Brother.”
“Since when did feeding the homeless become a terrorist activity? When the FBI and local law enforcement target groups like Food Not Bombs under the guise of fighting terrorism, many Americans who oppose government policies will be discouraged from speaking out and exercising their rights.”
– Ann Beeson ACLU Associate Legal Director
“To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job – seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public – deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based. Guns? Privacy? Due process? Equal protection? If you can’t speak out, you can’t defend those rights, either.”
– Dana Milbank The Washington Post May 21, 2013
Shortly after the September 11 attacks, television commentator and comedian Bill Maher found his program losing sponsors. Advertisers Sears and FedEx were among those that pulled advertising from Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” program after his comments regarding the attacks proved too “incorrect.” Maher proposed that while the 9/11 terrorists could be called many things, “cowardly” was not among them. He went on to suggest that the American military, lobbing cruise missiles from afar, was the cowardly group (Bohlen, 2001). Maher was not the only one to make such a suggestion. In fact, his comments echoed those of a conservative commentator from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Dinesh D’Souza, a guest on Maher’s show that evening. Susan Sontag also argued that whatever the terrorists might have been, they were not cowards. While Sontag was skewered in columns and letters, there was no evidence of a drop in support for the AEI (Bohlen, 2001). Maher was one of the first individuals to experience the chilling effect of the post-9/11 climate on public expression, but he was certainly not the last.
Even in recent years, it was revealed that the government had also engaged in efforts to muzzle whistleblowers and silence reporters, prosecuting them as criminal codefendants. Journalist Glenn Greenwald (2012) asserted, referring to the case of William Binney, an NSA leaker who preceded Snowden, that the “war on whistleblowing [was] designed to shield from the American public any knowledge of just how invasive this Surveillance State has become.” Many observers, both inside and outside of government, noted that this was just one of many instances of how the government “uses technology to silence critics” (Milbank, 2013).
When this story began more than a decade ago in the early fall of 2001, we were relatively new professors at the University of Wisconsin. We were in the process of launching a research collaboration that has lasted to this day. We were on our way to work when a report came over the radio that a second plane had struck the World Trade Center. Within the hour, we were both at work watching CNN in a conference room along with other faculty, staff, and students. Like everyone else in the room – and so many others across the country – we sensed that the world was about to change.
What we didn’t know was how profound this change would be, nor that we would spend the next decade writing this book that focuses on one particular aspect of this change, the War on Terror, how it was covered in the media, and the effects that this coverage had on the public. But we did know that the public opinion survey that we were planning was going to have to be redesigned to deal with public reactions to the 9/11 attacks. As the ensuing weeks unfolded, we read news reports about the federal government’s reorganization of its various intelligence agencies, as well as proposed legislation that would allow them to fight terrorism more effectively. This legislation, dubbed the PATRIOT Act, was passed overwhelmingly by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Bush on October 26, 2001, only 45 days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.