Church and State: A Content Analysis of Religion in the News During the 2008 Presidential Election
Metadata[+] Show full item record
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The presentation of groups, group leaders, and individuals by the news media has a significant effect on public opinion. However, few studies have examined the presentation of religious groups in the news. The 2008 presidential election represented an excellent opportunity to investigate how the media portrays religion in politics. Relying on a random sample of articles from six newspapers from November 2007 through November 2008, this thesis will examine news coverage and bias of religious groups, individuals and sources. This thesis found mixed results related to bias and coverage. The media does tend to examine certain groups (such as the Christian Right), candidates (Mike Huckabee), religious leaders (Jeremiah Wright), and local sources disproportionately. Episodic frames of religiously oriented political news were the norm, but thematic frames occurred more frequently than in other policy-oriented news. Also, there was little differentiation between regional newspapers. Nevertheless, this thesis finds that news coverage of religion and electoral politics is a fruitful area of research.
Access to files is limited to the University of Missouri--Columbia.