Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Zoe Oxley




television media, fake news, post-truth narratives


Media coverage of the 2016 campaign has been widely condemned for being horserace focused and light on issues. The media narrative, it can be argued, helped propel Donald Trump — a non-politician, celebrity candidate — to the White House. And scholars and citizens have been very critical of this role. Today, pundits, networks and CEO’s need to take time to look at what went wrong and decide how best to move forward. However, Trump’s attacks on the media, his allegations of mainstream media bias against his campaign, and his obsession with labeling legitimate news sources as fake news has the potential to upend serious discussion about necessary reforms. That is why it is more important now than ever to discuss the media’s position as an institution and how it should move reform. The media must learn from history and find a way to handle Trump’s presidency, alternative facts and post-truth narratives, and learn how to defend itself against allegations of dishonesty. The media must take a hard look at itself in order to discover how it can better inform viewers in 2020. But it is still important to talk about the impact of the media. Television media, in particular, is still the source of news utilized and preferred by the majority of Americans. And since most Americans never have the opportunity to interact with candidates or government officials personally, the media is the most prominent way that they learn about candidates for president. And television is the media that broadcasts those images into their living rooms. Therefore, my research will add to growing scholarship on the institutional problems within the television news media and the deleterious impacts that those problems have on the state of our democracy. I hope that the information presented here will help the media self-reflect, reform and prepare to address a changing news media environment. That way, television media can once again become a reliable resource for voters when deciding which candidate to support. And moreover, it will allow the media to combat the new brand of challenges that they will be faced with during the next four years.