Third-party political candidates in the United States are often overlooked by scholars of political science and mass communication. This thesis contributes to the existing literature on third-party electoral politics by examining media coverage of third-party congressional candidates who ran in 2008. The coverage is examined using the mass-communication-based concept of the protest paradigm, which argues that media organizations negatively frame non-editorial news coverage of groups that challenge the status quo. The analysis finds that the protest paradigm element of marginalization is unmistakably present in coverage of third-party congressional candidates: of twenty-three candidates who reached the five-percent threshold, only ten received any coverage at all. The remaining protest paradigm elements of delegitimization and demonization where not found to be present in notable amounts, though the fact that the coverage analyzed mentions third-party candidates at all might indicate a somewhat favorable attitude toward third-party challengers. The hypothesis that the protest paradigm applies to third-party congressional candidates is only partly supported.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. May 2010. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor:Daniel B. Wackman. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 60 pages.
Pankiewicz, Nicole Kathleen.
Politics as Deviance: Media coverage of third-party congressional candidates..
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