“What's Good for UPS is Good for America”: Nation and Class in Network Television News Coverage of the UPS Strike

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11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The 1997 United Parcel Service (UPS) strike highlighted the conflict of interests between corporations and their employees, challenging the notion that the 1990s economic recovery had benefited all Americans equally. Television coverage of this strike, however, failed to reflect the class nature of this conflict. Instead, it framed the strike in nationalist terms and projected the interests of business onto the nation by constructing a harmonious national community with shared goals. Through a textual analysis of 269 news reports on ABC, CBS, and NBC, this article discusses the economic and social components of the “nationalist antistrike narrative.” Economically, this narrative constructs the viewer as a middle-class consumer and invites the audience to identify with UPS. Socially, it offers mechanisms of corporate and national conflict resolution based on idealized nuclear family relations. This article argues that the narrative's logic stems from the institutional structure of American television, which is simultaneously a national and a nationalizing medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
JournalTelevision and New Media
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

Keywords

  • class
  • media
  • nation
  • nationalism
  • news
  • strike
  • television

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