Date Presented

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

First Advisor

Marek Payerhin, PhD

Second Advisor

David Richards, PhD

Third Advisor

Beth Savage, PhD


When terrorism occurs, the government has to respond to it. The media also has the need to respond to terrorism if it is to report the news. Therefore, if both have a connection to terrorism, how do they work together, how do they impact each other, and is the Agenda Setting Theory useful to them? Using three recent attacks, the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Manchester Arena Attack, and the Orlando Nightclub Shooting, this paper analyzes the kind of wording used by the media reporting on terrorism and how the government influences that wording through press releases. The study hypothesizes that charged language in media reports increases after a government press release when the government provides an update or new information on a terrorist attack, while neutral language remains relatively the same or decrease slightly in occurrence. Using four neutral words: bombing or shooting, incident/event, investigation, and attack, as well as four charged words: ‘terror’, Islamist, extremist, and criminal, a content analysis will be done on articles from CNN, Fox News, New York Times, The Times, Le Monde, and Irish Independent published before and after a government press release about each event. When comparing how often each word occurs, the hypothesis was not supported by the data.