USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Wang


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

June 2015

Publication Date


Date Issued

April 2015


The project undertaken is an analysis of potential media bias regarding newspapers’ coverage of the Wendy Davis filibuster in 2013. This study seeks to answer the question: “Are the media biased in use of terms regarding abortion?” Grounded in framing theory, this study uses textual analysis to review the terms different newspapers use in their coverage of the Wendy Davis filibuster. Three newspapers are examined: The Austin American-Statesman, The New York Times and The Washington Times. The researcher reviews news stories related to the Wendy Davis filibuster during the 2013 Texas legislative session. On June 25, 2013, Sen. Davis filibustered in attempt to stop a bill that would increase restrictions to abortion. The filibuster provided news outlets with numerous opportunities to write about abortion (with attendant terminology), so the researcher finds this to be a useful sample. The clips range from June 19 through August 30, 2013. The researcher selected three total newspapers: one local Texas newspaper, and two newspapers with national impact. The newspapers with national impact, The New York Times and The Washington Times, demonstrate two positions on the political spectrum, respectively liberal and conservative. This study is important to the media community, as well as to media consumers. It is important for journalists and consumers of the media to understand where media bias is occurring, where it is not occurring and how to address it. In 1986 the AP Stylebook, the main source that dictates style for print journalists, changed recommendations regarding abortion. It moved from using the term “pro-life” to “anti-abortion” and went from “pro-abortion” to “pro-choice.” Many media organizations, however, reject these terms, and pick ones that reflect the views of their organization. This researcher examines how these chosen terms are used in the context of the news articles they are used in.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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