Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Marian Meyers

Second Advisor

M. Lane Bruner

Third Advisor

Holley Wilkin

Abstract

This study is the first to analyze news coverage of a hegemonic struggle over a crisis that threatened to close a Southern safety net hospital. Such closure could have left indigent, African American men and women without health care access. The study utilizes critical discourse analysis to focus on news portrayals of patients and the struggle over whether the hospital would continue to be governed by a majority-Black, public board of directors or a nonprofit, private board recommended by a majority-White civic group. Results indicate that newspaper coverage privileged the elite, White view, while stereotypically representing indigent, Black patients as problematic. Coverage legitimized privatizing the hospital’s board through a neoliberal discourse that also portrayed its majority-Black board as incompetent.

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