Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Deborah Smith-Howell


The purpose of this study was to determine if U.S. news media coverage of Palestine, an international news issue, reflects agenda-building. All presidential discourse on Palestine in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and all articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press that reference the same were counted and documented on a weekly basis for the years of 1993, 1994, 2001 and 2002. Once the amount of coverage was plotted, a closer look at five week spans during each year using qualitative content analysis determined if similar specific issues were discussed in presidential discourse (William Jefferson Clinton and George Walker Bush) and news coverage. Results of the descriptive content analysis study indicated that there is a relationship in the amount of coverage and the type of issues emphasized by the media and the President on Palestine; however, there is not a consistent pattern to indicate media coverage increases prior to presidential discourse, or vice versa. Presidents and the media do have similar amounts of coverage, do focus on similar issues and often carry similar themes. There are also similar amounts of coverage and types of issues covered by the three media sources and the two presidents in the study. This study brought a new type of methodology to Agenda-Setting/Agenda-Building Research by taking a closer look at issues and themes using Qualitative Content Analysis.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Communication University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Linda Absy August, 2004

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