A global election: analyses of Chinese, Russian, and Saudi Arabian news coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election

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University of Alabama Libraries

This dissertation was designed to investigate how state-owned news media outlets from China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia covered the 2016 U.S. presidential election. More specifically, this study includes analyses of Chinese, Russian, and Saudi Arabian news stories from four major events throughout the 2016 election campaign: 1) the national conventions for the Republican and Democratic parties, 2) the first presidential debate, 3) Election Day, and 4) Inauguration Day. Drawing from the global news flow theoretical framework, this study examined the extent to which media dependency was present among the international news coverage. Furthermore, drawing from the nation branding theoretical framework, this study assessed how these state-owned news outlets presented the U.S. nation brand to their audiences. Using a content analysis methodological approach, the researcher coded 365 news stories into various quantitative coding categories and qualitative themes. The overall results show that the Chinese and Saudi Arabian sources favored Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, while the Russian sources favored Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Additionally, the results show that these news outlets cited U.S. news sources more often than non-U.S. news sources. Moreover, the overall results indicate that these news outlets’ coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election presented the U.S. nation brand negatively, and indicate perceptions of “gray zones” between the U.S. and other nations. This study’s theoretical implications, practical implications, and avenues for future research are discussed at length.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Mass communication, Multimedia communications, International relations