ABSTRACT This thesis analyzes the discourse surrounding proposed solutions to the immigration phenomenon in the United States. I conducted two qualitative media analyses on the rhetoric and conceptual frames found in mass media newscasts reporting on the immigration debate. The first analysis covered the general immigration debate and the second covered the appearance of American southwest ranchers. Specifically the analyses contrasted the media's coverage of root economic causes to the immigration phenomenon in comparison to reactionary solutions as proposed by leading immigrant attrition organizations such as the immigration think tank, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Republican linguist, Frank Luntz. The main argument of this thesis is based on an analysis of how the media has used southwestern ranchers as expert witnesses for reactionary solutions on a national level. An acute qualitative media analysis was used to compare the rhetoric found in the media coverage of southwestern ranchers versus the rhetoric found in 12 in-depth interviews I conducted with ranchers in the American southwest. This thesis contends that the media has successfully turned southwestern ranchers into spokespersons for border security rhetoric, furthering the binary debates on border security and immigration reform and thus obscuring the conditions which force migrants to leave their home countries. The grounding theoretical framework for this thesis is based on David Altheide's qualitative media analysis which identifies how certain frames and common narratives ultimately construct a way of discussing the problem or the kind of discourse that will follow. This was structured on Atheide's qualitative media analysis protocols to dissect mass media newscasts covering the immigration debate and more specifically the mass media's coverage of southwestern ranchers. The qualitative media analyses were employed to determine whether the discourse found in nightly newscasts falls in line with root causes of immigration or FAIR's concern with reactionary solutions. To further assess the media's ability to shape discourse, and ultimately policy, these qualitative analyses were compared with in-depth interviews of the ranchers.
- Restrictive discourse: manufacturing reactionary solutions to internal causes : a qualitative media analysis of immigration policy discourse
- Social Research
- Foreign Policy
- Qualatative Media Analysis
- Ranchers--Press coverage--Southwestern States.