Date of Completion


Embargo Period



social movements, mass media, tea party, occupy Wall Street, framing, protest paradigm

Major Advisor

Mary Bernstein

Associate Advisor

Nancy A Naples

Associate Advisor

Davita Silfen Glasberg

Associate Advisor

Jeremy Pais

Associate Advisor

Ruth Braunstein

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation examines television news coverage of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. Theories regarding the relationship between media and social movements are mostly based on outdated models of media and journalistic norms. In addition, the literature on framing is underdeveloped in that it has focused on the process of creating frames and the implications of collective action framing; less is known about the process of frame usage in non-print media. My dissertation addresses these two problems. I develop the partisan media paradigm, an improved framework for understanding media coverage of social movements, by reformulating a dominant theory of media protest coverage, the protest paradigm, to account for the realities of today’s ideologically segmented media landscape. I contribute to the under-theorized area of framing by conceptualizing frames as gateways and identifying trajectories frames can take in mass media discourse. This research is important for three main reasons: a) it contributes to knowledge across the disciplines of sociology, political science, and communications studies; b) it compares a right-wing and a left-wing movement to help explain how for-profit media’s adherence to the status quo bounds the mainstream news field with hegemonic limits that confine political discourse at both ends of the right-left spectrum; and c) it provides important insights into the process of media framing for other types of political and cultural discourse, beyond that of social movements.