Date of Award

8-15-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

Mary Beth Leidman, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Jay Start, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Zachary Stiegler, Ph.D.

Abstract

The media frames events through a lens looking toward the past often comparing events in order to create a reference. However, because of this framing, the media also develops a media memory based on its interpretation of events that can impact the collective. This study analyzes whether people with distinct memories of an event will agree with the media comparison involving that same event utilizing the inclusion/exclusion model. The inclusion/exclusion model suggests that distinct experience lends towards a contrasting view of two events while an interpretative experience lends toward a similar view of two events. Because the media frequently compares the Iraq War to the Vietnam War, Vietnam veterans were surveyed regarding their perspective on each war as a distinct event as well as whether the two conflicts were viewed as similar. In addition, three specific demographics within the sample were analyzed in regards to the likelihood of perceived similarity of the two conflicts. The results of the study indicate Vietnam veterans did feel the two wars were similar and yet somewhat distinct, results not in line with the theory behind the inclusion/exclusion model. Additional research is required to further test the inclusion/exclusion model with events having occurred more recently thus limiting the possible exposure to media memory as well as to determine how assimilation and contrast effects impacted social judgment of these veterans.

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