Honors Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Robert Brown

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

In this thesis, I performed a comparative case study between the United States and a foreign country, particularly Australia, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom, in each of the media ages that I defined. I defined these media ages as the Pre-24 Hour News Cycle Age, the Internet Age, and the Social Media Age. For the Pre-24 Hour News Cycle Age, I examined Muhammad Ali and his refusal to be inducted into the Armed Services in 1967 after being drafted for the Vietnam War and Peter Norman, an Australian Olympic medalist, and his decision to take a silent stand for equality at the 1968 Olympics, while Australia's Indigenous population underwent a civil rights movement. For the Internet Age, I examined the Dixie Chicks and their anti-Bush comment in 2003, and Alejandro Sanz, a Spanish singer, who made anti-Chavez commentary in Venezuela in 2004. For the current Social Media Age, I examined Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the National Anthem in 2016 and 2017, and Andy Murray, a Scottish-born tennis player who plays for Great Britain, and his tweet in support of Scotland voting yes to the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014. I explored how American culture reacts and how a foreign culture reacts to a celebrity protest that has been widely perceived as anti-patriotic in their home country. I also exmained the implications of the evolving media environment to understand the reactions to celebrity protest. Are the protests perceived differently across the ages as the media and our news consumption evolves? Do the countries react the same to celebrity protest, despite cultural differences, or do they act differently? My conclusions regarding the impact of changing news consumption are as follows. First, as a result of these changes in the news platforms, the news cycle, and the consumption of news, I saw different reactions amongst the public across the media ages. Before the internet, the limited amount of news platforms resulted in just the dominating opinion having a platform to be heard, thus creating a kind of one-sided argument driven by the media that the public just agreed with. As more platforms to consume news have become available, we are being exposed to more opinions and able to consume the story from many perspectives. In addition, the creation of social media platforms allows for people to read opinions and express their own, specifically choosing how they consume their news and the type of news they are consuming. This increased diversity of information outlets, and the ability for consumers to choose the outlets from which they received their news has changed the face of the media environment. With regard to celebrity protest, reactions are equally as strong as they were in the first media age, but the current environment also allows for more diversity of opinion. As a result, I found more support of celebrity protest as time progresses to the Social Media Age we live in today. This support was not common before the creation of the internet. Finally, I concluded that despite the cultural and social differences, countries reacted the same to perceived anti-patriotic protests by celebrities in each media age. I discovered that the change in our consumption of news and the availability of news platforms transcends the cultural and societal differences between the United States and these foreign countries. I think the media environment transcends these differences due to its structure and the conversation it incites. In the beginning, public opinions were very media driven, but as more platforms became available, opinions became more driven by the public with the media mirroring these thoughts.

Comments

A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

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