Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


A central question in mass media research concerns whether the American press observes the journalistic norm of objectivity or not. Some scholars believe that the American press covers international news from the American perspective. They also propose that the American press is dominated by such American ideologies as ethnocentrism, individualism, anticommunism and free market economic principles. But there are other scholars who argue that the American press holds a detached and objective manner toward international affairs. This study attempts to apply W. L. Bennett's theory of political symbolism to approach the issue of objectivity. A content analysis is designed to examine the symbol usage of Newsweek and Time in their coverage of the 1989 Chinese Student Movement. It is assumed that referential symbols represent the objective attitude of the journalists and condensational symbols show the journalists' biased tendency in their news reports. By examining the usage of these two kinds of symbols, the author hopes that the findings will make some empirical contribution to the academic research concerning the objectivity of the American press. At the same time, a qualitative approach of text analysis in the discussion of American press ideologies will add some new evidence to the similar research.


viii, 103 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm. Bibliography: leaves 80-85



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