Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
This work examines the historical implications of 24-hour television news on elections and policy in America. In two moments, the 2000 presidential election and the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the 24-hour news medium shaped the course of American history. 24-Hour news had such influence because of the psychological power of the television medium combined with its broad audience; it created, spread, and solidified beliefs based on untruths that ultimately interfered with an American election and the implementation of major American foreign policy. The work also explores the most effective counterbalance to 24-hour news: the satirical comedy program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. By highlighting 24-hour news' lack of journalistic integrity in its own medium, The Daily Show helped dilute the strong psychological influences of 24-hour news and expose its economic incentives, pursued in lieu of democratic ones, which guided the vast majority of the networks' reporting. This shifting emphasis by 24-hour news channels away from civic discourse unequivocally influenced American history and presented a dire challenge - yet unsolved - to American democracy.
Queen, Thomas W., "The Effect of 24-Hour Television News on American Democracy and The Daily Show as a Counterbalance to 24-Hour News: A History" (2010). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 669.
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