Background: Chiropractic has professional tensions with other medical disciplines. This sets up a biased online media coverage of controversial issues, such as the unverified causal relation between chiropractic treatment and stroke. The objective of this study is to find and analyze recent online media texts relevant to the alleged causal relation between chiropractic treatment and stroke, using Google News search, including such characteristics of texts as tone and position on Google News Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Methods: We built a research design of quantitative content analysis of online media coverage of the unverified causal relation between chiropractic treatment and stroke throughout the year 2015, from January 1 to December 31, using Google News. We operationalized appropriate frames as keywords inclusive to this relation, to carry out a comprehensive search for relevant online texts. The collected media texts were extensively analyzed for frequencies of keywords and locations of keywords, and for tones as positive, neutral, negative connotation, or negative, measuring 12 variables on categorical scales.
Results: Our search identified a total of 146 relevant online media texts, corresponding to the frames, which were all analyzed. The vast majority of identified texts had a negative tone or connotation, but most were not located on the first search page.
Conclusions: The chiropractic profession is concerned about the biased media coverage of the unverified causal relation between chiropractic treatment and stroke. However, our data show that there are very few relevant media texts online within the timeframe of this study, and the majority of them appear after the first page of Google News SERP. But, most texts present a negative tone or connotation, and a lot of links to online and social media embedded in these texts extend their traffic and reach.
Author keywords: Chiropractic manipulation — Framing — Google News SERP — Online media texts — Stroke — Tone
Author affiliations: MA-A, BH: College of Public and International Affairs, University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT USA; SMP:College of Chiropractic, University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT USA; SMP: Discipline of Chiropractic, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA Australia
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