Keywords

Content Analysis, Newspaper Headlines, The Washington Times, The Los Angeles Times

Abstract

Previous research suggested Election 2004 involved many issue regimes and wedge issues (Kaplan, 2004; Drum, 2004; Fagan & Dinan, 2004). Preceding research proposed that the American perception of presidential candidates has been somewhat based on the mass media's increasing priming and agenda setting techniques (Scheufele, 2000; Kiousis & McCombs, 2004). Hence the research addressed two questions: Is there a bias for or against either candidate in the headlines of the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Times? If there is bias, which issues tended to produce the most positive, negative and neutral results? All election headlines, from February to November 2004, pertaining to a specific candidate were recorded and analyzed. The researcher chose to study headlines because they convey the newsworthiness of the story and former research confirms that reader perceptions of a news account can depend on the headline (Pfau, 1995; Tannenbaum, 1953). This study utilized content analysis to assess the word choices and biases of the headlines of the two newspapers. The researcher created definitions for coding, trained two coders, and analyzed and discussed the results. The main findings were the Washington Times contained more headlines that were pro-Bush, while the Los Angeles Times contained more headlines that were pro-Kerry. The key issues that reflected bias included that candidate's campaign, homeland security, and values.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2005

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Costain, Gene

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Communication

Degree Program

Communication

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0000442

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0000442

Language

English

Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Communication Commons

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