Date of Award

Spring 2020

Department

Communication

Advisor(s)

David Lynn Painter

Abstract

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world and is the third largest source of U.S. petroleum, but today it is a country in crisis. Moreover, relations between the U.S. and Venezuela shifted dramatically under the Bush and Chávez administrations. This contentious relationship along with Venezuela’s ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crises have resulted in a repressive government, hyperinflation, starvation, mortality, and mass emigration from the country. Based on the theory that international news coverage is influenced by the experiences and attitudes of people from different nations and regions, this study compared domestic and Latin American news coverage of the U.S.-Venezuelan relationship between 2001 and 2008 to provide some context for this present situation. The results of this quantitative content analysis indicate that there were significant differences in U.S. and Latin American newspapers coverage. Specifically, U.S. coverage was more focused on Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and oil, while the Latin American coverage was more balanced in its focus on both Bush and Chávez as well as regional leaders’ meetings. Further, U.S. coverage used significantly more negative frames in its stories about Venezuela’s domestic conditions and international relations than Latin American coverage did. Additionally, while U.S. news coverage portrayed Bush and Chávez more neutrally, it also characterized Chávez as an enemy of the U.S. more frequently than Latin American coverage. Overall, the implications of these results are important considerations when trying to understand the origins of the contentious U.S-Venezuelan relationship as well as the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

Comments

A Senior Project Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements Of The Honors Degree Program in April of 2020.

Included in

Communication Commons

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