Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


School of Communication Studies


Dan K. Schill

Matthew P. Brigham

Ryan Alessi


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.