Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Hun Shik Kim

Second Advisor

Michael McDevitt

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Skewes

Fourth Advisor

Scott Wolford

Fifth Advisor

Nabil Echchaibi


Theories over the role of news coverage in war and peace differ significantly in how much ability they afford the news media to affect public opinion and policy and the media’s overall relationship with political and economic power. This study offers a synthesized game theoretic model that asserts these theoretical stories can all be true, depending on the conditions in which a country’s media operates. It also finds evidence that a particular, invisible outcome of the model – that an independent news media in a state can deter that state from participating in wars – indeed occurs. Finally, the study develops a methodology to examine news coverage of international crises to look for evidence of media aggressiveness in challenging elite narratives as well as differences in coverage of conflict that results in war versus conflict with peaceful outcomes, and finds a variety of markers that predict either outcome, and also nuanced support for elements of all of the various theories of media-state relations.