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How Newspaper Headlines Reflected and Reinforced Political Divides on Mask-Wearing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

dc.contributor.authorKlein, Jessica
dc.description.abstractThis thesis discusses the politicization of Coronavirus pandemic 2019 (COVID-19) through a case study of the politicization of mask-wearing during the first six months of its presence in the United States, from January 2020 through June 2020. First, this paper describes the appearance of COVID-19 and its spread from Wuhan, China to the world at large and, specifically, the United States of America. Then, this paper presents the methods of this study – an analysis of digital news headlines – and the subsequent analysis of the collected data points. Lastly, this paper concludes with a discussion of this project’s limitations and recommendations for medical, public health and policy, and media-based professionals for the disruption of and the prevention of the politicization of public health crises. This analysis of a total of 599 headlines from CNN and Fox News’ digital media publications makes clear that the differential language used, stories covered, and terms mentioned in online newspaper headlines are both products and propagators of the politicization of mask-wearing in 2020. Given the conclusion that the media reinforced existing polarizations in society regarding mask-wearing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this study supports the education of the public on bias, or instances of prejudice, in the media as a public health initiative, and advocates for the cautious use of normative language when describing best health practices. In short, the research discussed in this thesis support an initiative to educate the public on bias in the media from one of the United States public health-oriented institutions.en_US
dc.titleHow Newspaper Headlines Reflected and Reinforced Political Divides on Mask-Wearing During the COVID-19 Pandemicen_US

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