The Framed Victim: Analyzing the Jennifer Laude Case in American and Filipino News Reports

Adrian Ellis Jaranilla Alarilla

Abstract


The news media can be a veritable battleground in which concepts of race, nation and gender compete in the public imagination. This is demonstrated in ways that the murder of transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude is framed by American and Filipino news reports. This paper argues that the framing of the Jennifer Laude case serves to support the dominance of the U.S. Military and to perpetuate a gendered “othering” of Filipinos. For this study, Todd Gitlin’s model of media framing analysis is used to evaluate six of the most popular texts by mainstream American news media as well as six of the most popular texts by mainstream Filipino news media published two days after the crime. A comparison of trends in each news media shows that while Jennifer Laude is framed more as a deceitful sex worker in American news reports, she is seen more as a victim of a hate crime in Filipino news reports. Both American and Filipino news reports also discuss the case vis-à-vis the current ambivalent political and military relationship between the two nations, albeit in varying terms. While Filipino news reports tend to contextualize the case as part of a long string of crimes committed by members of the U.S. military in the Philippines, it is found that through framing devices such as Trivialization, Polarization, Marginalization, and Delegitimization, the American news media disempowers the Jennifer Laude case from creating any meaning that might be regarded as oppositional by the dominant ideology of U.S. Supremacy.


Keywords


Transgender, Media Framing

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