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Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
School of Communication Studies
Dan K. Schill
Matthew P. Brigham
The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was a historical event that received widespread media attention in the days and weeks that followed. This study focuses on the differential framing techniques used by Fox News and CNN, specifically, in their coverage of January 6. Additionally, this study addresses the differential framing techniques used across different shows on the same network: “commentary-based” shows and “information-based” shows. In doing so, this research builds upon the vast body of pre-existing news media framing research. This study finds that the differences in framing are more pronounced between Fox News and CNN than across the different shows on each network, thus providing an explanation for why Americans are so polarized about the events of January 6. Notably, Fox News highlights the peaceful aspects of January 6, labeling it a protest, whereas CNN stresses the idea of January 6 as an act of domestic terror. On a less significant level, the commentary-based shows utilized different framing techniques from their information-based counterparts. The commentary-based shows presented their audiences with a more emotional depiction of the news that more heavily relied on the anchor’s opinion.
Stover, Alexandra M., ""Domestic terrorism" or "political protest?": Partisan cable news framing of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol" (2023). Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current. 155.