Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Gerald E. Markle

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Diamond

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Wait

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Donald Cooney


This dissertation explores mainstream media presentation of two convicted murderers: Theodore J. Kaczynski, otherwise known as "The Unabomber," and Timothy J. McVeigh, found guilty of the 1995 destruction of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. More specifically, I analyze The New York Times's and Time's presentation of these two actors in order to assess whether their acts were attributed to political and ideological motivation or psychological abnormality and mental illness. Quantitative and qualitative findings indicate that Kaczynski's crimes were more likely to be attributed to psychological abnormality and mental illness, while McVeigh's crimes were more likely to be attributed to political and ideological motivation. This dissertation thus stands at the intersection of mass media and the medicalization of deviance.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access