Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Strange, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Werder, Ph.D.


Evangelicalism, Framing, Print Media, Topoi, Secular Humanism, Extremism, Journalism


This qualitative frame analysis examines how print media handles the concept of Fundamentalist Christianity. The researcher examined news reports in four prominent national newspapers over the ten-year period between 2000 and 2009 for references made to Fundamentalist Christianity. The sample is examined on the basis of Mark Silk's "topoi," a term taken from classical rhetoric meaning commonplaces or themes (1995). Silk outlines seven common topoi on which stories about religion are written, and these are utilized as a framework for this present study. While much has been written and researched on how religious groups, Fundamentalist Christians, and Evangelicals use mass media to promote their message to a secular audience, few studies have examined how the secular press frames Fundamentalist Christianity. This study, therefore, fills an existing literature gap by dissecting the portrayal of a demographic that has had a historical and cultural media presence for more than a century.