Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 4-28-2011

School

School of Communication

Major

Communication Studies: Journalism

Primary Subject Area

History, United States

Keywords

Media Influence, Perception of the U.S. Constitution, Federalist Papers, Tea Party

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

America has been built by a series of monumental events. The press has been there to capture them all. The American mainstream media have indeed served as the rough draft for historical textbooks. The Declaration of Independence was reprinted in many newspapers on July 5, 1776. Evidence of this fact is on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The media have been a present force in all aspects of American life since colonization. One of the most unique aspects of that force is the editorial page. The editorial page played a distinctive role during the crucial time of America’s formation. The editorial pages of New York City newspapers in particular served as a public forum to debate the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed United States Constitution and its system of one federalized form of government. In the end, constituents cast their vote in favor of federalism. The newspapers’ sphere of influence in American society cannot be underestimated. The newspapers of today are quite different that the broadsheets of the late 18th century. The majority of the modern era’s prominent major publications have a liberal bias. The best evidence of this bias can be seen by the coverage of The Tea Party (sometimes the lack of coverage) and the type of coverage the Tea Party has received. This thesis will demonstrate that the type of coverage the movement has received is indeed overwhelmingly biased. Just as the newspapers of the 18th century influenced the political course of their day, the editorial page of today is having a profound impact on the modern political dialogue. The Tea party is a political organization that appeared virtually overnight and has revolutionized the idea of “politics as usual” in Washington.

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