Compassionate Canadians and Conflictual Americans? Portrayals of Ageism in Liberal and Conservative Media

Patrik Marier, Marina Revelli* (2017)
Ageing and Society, 37(8): 1632-1653


Building upon earlier studies on ageism in the media and the polarised ageism framework, this contribution compares the prevalence of three forms of ageism – intergenerational, compassionate and new ageism – in four Canadian and American newspapers. The analysis has three objectives. First, it adapts the polarised ageism framework to a comparative case study to assess its usefulness beyond Canada. Second, it analyses which form of ageism occurs more frequently in the coverage of ageing-related stories in Canadian or American newspapers. Third, it studies the importance of the political orientation of news media across both countries by comparing the portrayal of ageing-related stories in conservative and liberal newspapers. Core findings include the presence of a stronger focus on intergenerational ageism in American and conservative newspapers and more frequent prevalence of compassionate ageism in Canada and liberal newspapers. American newspapers also typically employ more pejorative and sensational language.