Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Clifford Brown




media, election, events, candidates, cycle


This thesis examines the role that the press plays in presidential elections through the specific case studies of the 2000 and 2008 presidential elections. Every New York Times newspaper article occurring one year before each election was collected and coded in addition to acquiring video footage of NBC Nightly News from each election cycle in order to make assessments of the media’s influence. Ultimately, this thesis examines how five objectives of the media – information, credentialing, image creation, framing and agenda setting – are utilized by the media to identify these candidates and issues that they feel are most important in an election cycle and thereby shape the nature of news coverage. Using this research, this study concludes that in order to receive the most favorable portrayal, a candidate must be interesting, inspiring, have an air of celebrity status, create positive media events, and be able to resonate with a wide variety of voters. Finally, while uncontrollable, issues and events that resonate deeply with voters allow them to become more involved in the campaign and, should candidates use the media to creatively capitalize on these events, they will contribute to potential victory.