Divergent Coverage of the Early Tea Party Movement in the Washington Times and the New York Times
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This thesis examines media bias in the New York Times and the Washington Times by presenting the results a content analysis of the two newspapers' coverage of the first year of the Tea Party movement. The researcher establishes that the New York Times has a liberal editorial bent and that the Washington Times takes a conservative stance on its editorial page; the stories were counted and categorized by the researcher and two coders determined whether each piece was favorable, unfavorable or neutral toward the Tea Party, which is considered a conservative movement in this thesis. The tone of the editorials in each newspaper aligned with expectation, and the news coverage was comparable. However, a significant disparity was found in the sheer volume of stories. The findings are examined through the lens of selective exposure hypothesis, and implications to the fields of mass communication research and the professional realm are discussed.
This research occurs at a singular time in American political history and represents an opportunity to take a snapshot of the very genesis of an upheaval in the political landscape.