Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Howard

Second Advisor

Dr. Barry Goetz

Third Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kramer

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This project derives a set of research expectations from the propaganda model, a structural model of the corporate news media developed by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. The model predicts that the news media will reflect elite views and priorities and marginalize views outside the range of elite opinion. Consequently, it is expected that the media will tend to support the elite’s preferred modes of exercising state power in international affairs. This often entails demonizing official enemies of the United States in order to justify military interventions while downplaying the crimes of the United States and its allies. To see how well these expectations are borne out in recent times, I apply discourse and content analysis to a sample of the New York Times’ coverage of Libya in the weeks preceding the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. Three research expectations are presented: Coverage will mirror the U.S. government story line, conforming to the tenets of American exceptionalism; Muammar Gaddafi will be demonized, the nature and extent of his crimes will be exaggerated; Gaddafi’s victims will receive extensive, sympathetic coverage, while black Libyan victims of the anti-Gaddafi opposition will be marginalized. The analysis of New York Times articles on Libya from February 15 to March 19, 2011, shows that the research expectations are met, providing empirical support for the propaganda model.

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Sociology Commons

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