Published: June 2013

ID #: 69173

Journal: Am J Public Health

Authors: Niederdeppe J, Gollust SE, Jarlenski MP, Nathanson AM, Barry CL

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This article examines how the news media frames the public debates about sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes. Researchers assessed how frequently pro- and anti-tax arguments appeared in national news media and in news outlets serving jurisdictions where SSB taxes were proposed and found that news stories focused on the SSB tax debate were more likely to offer pro- than anti-tax arguments. Pro-tax arguments about the health consequences and financial benefits of SSB taxes appeared most often. The most frequent anti-tax arguments focused on how SSB taxes would hurt the economy and how they were an inappropriate government intrusion. Local and national news outlets differed substantially in their inclusions of arguments against SSB taxes, with national news media offering more anti-tax arguments than local outlets.

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