No Laughing Matter: Media Framing a Local TV News Stunt Gone Wrong


  • Riva Brown University of Central Arkansas
  • Dr. Edwards University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Professor Gardner University of Central Arkansas
  • Professor Combs Arkansas State University
  • Dr. White University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff



In September 2021, two White male television personalities wore Afro wigs during a newscast as part of a gag dubbed “return to the 70s,” referring to the change in weather temperatures. A local activist and a professional media group called the prank disrespectful and inappropriate. Television station officials suspended the anchors from on-air duties and fired the station’s news director. These events generated headlines locally, nationally, and internationally. This paper is a case study centered on media coverage and grounded in framing theory. This multimethod approach includes a qualitative content analysis of articles and videos from newspapers, television stations, magazines, YouTube, websites, and blogs to identify news frames used by media outlets that covered the Afro wig incident.