Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Linwan Wu

Abstract

As of late November 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic killed more than 250,000 people in America despite having early warning of the virus’ lethality and some of the world’s best public health institutions. In today’s media landscape, conservative commentators have an enormous influence on President Donald Trump as well as American political discourse broadly. This study focused how the top conservative commentators on YouTube influenced their audience by their coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. By examining over 1,600 YouTube comments from videos from February to July 2020, this paper investigates who conservative media consumers principally blamed, the socio-political influences behind those criticisms, and how commenters interacted in the comment section.

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