Date of Award

8-10-2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Toby Bolsen

Second Advisor

Judd Thornton

Third Advisor

Sean Richey

Abstract

The media functions as an intermediary between policymakers and the public. As such, it is vital to understand how the media frames particular policies and how attitudes can be shaped as a result of media framing. This dissertation examines media frames and attitudes surrounding solar panel tariffs. It is important to understand media frames and attitudes about policies concerning renewable energy, because climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity today. Increased reliance on renewable energy, as opposed to fossil fuels, has the power to mitigate the potential negative outcomes of climate change. In this dissertation, I present the results of a content analysis that explores the way the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal framed the effects of the tariffs as well as the role that partisan bias played in reporting on the tariffs. I also show how people respond to positive and negative frames, both alone and in competition, about tariffs on solar panels. Finally, I present the results of a study that shows the role that partisan endorsements and motivational primes affect attitudes surrounding this issue. I find that framed messages and partisan endorsements can significantly move attitudes on solar panel tariffs.

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