Date of Award

12-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Melanie Duncan

Second Advisor

Michelle Sandhoff

Third Advisor

Valerie Gunter

Abstract

This study examined politically left and politically right online news media article portrayals of the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement’s goal was to create a movement where modern racist practices were challenged and corrected, while keeping marginalized people (queer, black women) visible. The primary research question explored in this study is: How does the online media on the political left and the political right depict the Black Lives Matter movement? In this study, there is a focus on framing theory and how it informs media portrayals of social movements. Literature on social movement emergence and organization, how new media is used to relay information, and how media constructs and contributes to the discourse around social movements was reviewed. For this analysis, I collected articles focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement from two online news outlets, Fox News and Daily Kos, published between 2014-2017. A review of 145 articles from these two online news outlets, whose readership is on the politically far left and right, made it possible to assess early depictions of the movement in mainstream media. Articles were coded for emerging themes, which focused on the portrayals of publication, membership, tactics, tone, and the presence of black women. The findings of this study provide a nonrepresentative understanding that two news media outlet platforms, whether politically conservative or liberal, portray the Black Lives Matter movement inaccurately by not providing accurate framing of the movement, its message, or its members based on how the movement self-identifies.

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