Chinese Language Print Media’s Coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election and Its Influence on Chinese Americans’ Political Attitudes and Voting Behavior
Owen, Diana M
This thesis applies multiple methodologies, including content analysis and framing analysis, to explore the Chinese language print media’s coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election and to investigate its influence on Chinese Americans’ political attitudes and voting behaviors. Though still relatively small, the Chinese American electorate is the fastest growing voting bloc in the United States. With more advanced education and higher income levels than the other smaller ethnic minorities, Chinese Americans as a bloc have become better informed and more active in the democratic political process. Most previous research and the media generally, however, have focused mainly on the Asian American demographic rather than consider the the Chinese American voter bloc as its largest differentiated sub-group. Consequently, Chinese Americans have not been targeted as a separate category for study by mainstream political researchers, the national media or even the major political parties. As a result, the distinctive political characteristics, concerns, and issues of Chinese Americans largely have gone unnoticed. Ignored by the mainstream English language media and political parties, Chinese Americans instead have turned to the Chinese language media as their major source for political information and for guidance in shaping their collective political identity as witnessed during the 2016 Presidential Election campaign. The thesis results indicate that the Chinese language print media play important roles in providing political information and in shaping the political identity of Chinese-Americans. Focusing on the Chinese language print newspaper World Journal as case in point, the thesis analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of the roles the Chinese language print media play in providing Chinese Americans with political information, in keeping them informed of relevant political developments, in offering guidance and stimuli to motivate their more effective participation in the political process, and in shaping their political identity and voting behavior. Finally, the thesis explores how the Chinese language print media inadvertently contribute to Chinese Americans’ feelings of social exclusion by ignoring the international and local issues which most concern them. The thesis concludes by recommending future research strategies for studying, in a broader and more nuanced way, the specific relationship between the Chinese ethnic media generally and the ways in which Chinese Americans use the media to shape their own political identity.
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