College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Dr. Hai Tran

Second Advisor

Dr. Blair Davis


This research utilizes content analysis and mixed methods as a way of understanding how COVID-19 related information was relayed from the media to the public during crucial times in U.S. history. The information analyzed entails news media broadcasts that occurred from June 26 to October 2, 2020, when the pandemic was on the rise in terms of cases and deaths. In addition to analyzing specific broadcasts, a comparative analysis was conducted between MSNBC vs. Fox News, in an effort to highlight key events that took place during the battle against COVID-19. This research utilizes agenda setting and framing principles to foster a deeper understanding of what was said by each news broadcast. Results shows that there was a strong divergence of coverage between the two networks. This divergence also highlights how each network chose to talk about cases and deaths in vastly different ways. Supplemental evidence points to Fox News dismissing its COVID-19 mentions, or in some cases ignoring the cases and deaths all together, as the pandemic climbed passed the 200 thousand death count nationally.

Included in

Communication Commons