Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Debra Bowen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Justin Brown, Ph.D.


Partisan media agendas, Informational needs of the audience, News Framing


This research is aimed at identifying political bias in mainstream media news channels. Specifically, this thesis focuses on political bias portrayed through the media following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. This analysis explores the media’s coverage of the initial travel ban (enforced by executive order) during the first month of the Trump presidency. The content in this research explores specific frames, facts, statistics, wording, phrasing, and overall presentations of two primetime media hosts, Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity. This research explores several presentations from each host, all pertaining to the Trump Administration’s initial travel ban. Framing theory is used throughout the manuscript to emphasize the manner in which each host presents news and information, while also distinguishing the differences between each host due to their partisan agendas. Through this research, it was found that both media hosts presented news and information on the same issue (the travel ban) through completely different perspectives. Each host varied drastically in tone, phrasing, and facts of emphasis, while also presenting each issue in a manner that aligns with a specific partisan agenda. This research demonstrates that partisan agendas and perceived audience needs take priority over the reporting of objective facts and straightforward coverage on the issue of immigration in the United States.