Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Terrorist events that occurred in the United States on September 11 , 2001 put the U.S. on the offensive in dealing with terrorist activity. The U.S. entered into war with Afghanistan and Iraq and journalists were at the forefront of these events reporting from the front lines. This thesis applies the theories of agenda-setting, framing, and priming in answering questions related to media coverage of events surrounding the war in Iraq. News coverage from three U.S. networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) was examined to determine the role that media played in the war in Iraq. Mass media are powerful tools of persuasion (Saso, 2005). The extent to which media has control of what the public views and perceives as relevant, is ultimately decided by the journalist who is reporting those events. This thesis examines frames to determine what are the primary sources for news stories (government, public, journalist, etc.) and what type of news stories are getting the most air time versus those that receive little or no air time. News frames as defined by Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) are tools that can be used to “convey, interpret, and evaluate information” (p. 94). Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) identified five frames that media use in reporting new events: conflict frames, human interest frames, economic consequences frames, mortality frames and responsibility frames. These five categories were used in examining news content from the three major television networks.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment for the Masters of the Arts Degree University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2006, Rebecca M. Graham