Impacts of Ideology: Sentiment Analysis of the Washington Post and the Washington Times




Hopp, Anastacia

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There is an undeniable history of discrimination against and suffering of black people in America. This, unfortunately, includes instances of police brutality that studies show is disproportionately committed against African Americans. In the past ten years, police-related killings of African Americans have sparked outrage, protests, and movements across the country. This thesis examines how five of those deaths have been covered by the Washington Post and the Washington Times. The two newspapers lean ideologically opposite ways; organizations can be influenced by their ownership, source of funding, or ideological and political stances of the outlet and its audience. From the perspective of newspaper framing and gatekeeping bias, I’ve conducted a sentiment analysis of newspaper headlines written in the Washington Post and the Washington Times about the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, and George Floyd. Within the parameters set for the study, I examined the sentiment results, what the results mean in terms of framing and bias, and the implications for audiences and newspapers alike.



Political Bias., Sentiment Analysis., Newspapers., Civil Rights Movement., Police Violence., Framing., Agenda Setting., Coverage Bias.