This thesis examines and analyzes the way cults are portrayed by various news media outlets. The intention of this thesis and my research in general is to convey the power of media influence in forming an individual’s perspective on cults. Each news media outlet (for purposes of this thesis, this includes Fox News, CNN, and the Associated Press) has their own definition of what a cult is, and this determines how they present those “cults” to the public. To understand how individuals form their opinions about cults and what exactly cults are via the media, it is necessary to investigate the media’s depiction of cults by looking at how the media frames cults, the structure and style of cult articles, and the perceptions of cults by the three media sources analyzed. The research is significant because it can inform media professionals about the power they wield over the public, which may contribute to these professionals having a greater moral desire to write more accurate articles. It can also inform the public about how the media influences them, which may help them to be more aware of their media consumption as well as how they share it with others.
Semester/Year of Award
Matthew P. Winslow
Mentor Department Affiliation
Open Access Thesis
Reynolds, Ashley M., "Exploring Portrayals of Cults in News Media: Establishing a Continuum" (2023). Honors Theses. 970.