Fear and Othering: U.S. Media Framing of the 2009 Swine Flu Virus in Mexico
AdvisorGonzalez de Bustamante, Celeste
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn 2009, the eyes of the world turned to Mexico as reports of a strange new strain of influenza began to dominate headlines and flash across TV screens. It was not the first time that an epidemic thought to have originated in a developing country had made headlines in the United States, nor would it be the last. The coverage was later accused of inciting unnecessary hysteria over a relatively minor and short-lived epidemic, as well as contributing to the stigmatization of Mexicans in the U.S. Using a directed qualitative content analysis, this study examined articles written about the Swine Flu virus in Mexico by four major U.S. newspapers during the height of the epidemic “scare” in Spring 2009. This study hypothesized that fear, othering, and disaster frames would be present in the coverage, based on previous studies on the topic. The research found that fear and othering frames were dominant, demonstrating similarities between U.S. coverage of the Swine Flu virus and coverage of other well-known epidemics in history.
Degree ProgramGraduate College