Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Vivian Ibrahim

Second Advisor

Rebecca Marchiel

Third Advisor

Nicolas Trépanier

Relational Format



The Iran Hostage Crisis, from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, was a defining moment in American foreign policy and US – Iranian relations. The news media – local and national newspapers and television – was saturated with coverage of the situation in Tehran and the subsequent US reaction. Americans watched the news over the 444 days, feeling sympathy and forging a collective national bond with the hostages; the international conflict was deeply personal for many Americans. The media played a central role in the establishment of the narrative of the hostage crisis, developing specific roles and personas of the United States and Iran as the crisis continued. In this thesis, I will explore the historical foundations of the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran and its revolutionary spirit which overflowed, resulting in the embassy’s seizure, as well as the tumultuous relationship between Iran and the US and the greater atmosphere of the 1970s. I analyze two events that book end the hostage crisis. I examine the creation of the media’s narrative surrounding the hostage crisis and the historical role these outlets played in shaping the experience of American news consumers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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