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Title: A Content Analysis of Elite Newspaper Coverage of Marginal Religions: Mormonism and Scientology
Authors: Pinciaro, Claire
Advisors: Starr, Paul
Department: Sociology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: This thesis examines the portrayal of two marginal religions—Scientology and Mormonism—in four elite newspaper publications over an eight-year time period from January 1, 2005 to March 1, 2013. During this time period, both marginal religions garnered media attention. The presidential campaign of prominent Mormon Mitt Romney piqued media interest regarding the marginal religion, and the highly publicized life of celebrity Tom Cruise, a Scientologist, has garnered media attention regarding the marginal religion. Both of these marginal religions have beliefs and practices that differ from those of the traditional Judeo-Christian religion that landscapes mainstream society. In this thesis, I conduct a content analysis of the print media coverage regarding both marginal religions in four elite newspapers. I hypothesize that the articles pertaining to Mormonism are more positive than the articles pertaining to Scientology because the Church of Scientology acts in a more threatening and hostile manner than the Mormon Church. I find that although the overall tone of the articles pertaining to Mormonism is more positive than the articles pertaining to Scientology, it is not due to the perceived threat or hostility of the religious group. Instead, I conclude that the difference in article topics pertinent to the marginal religions attributes to the difference in overall tone of the marginal religions in elite newspaper publications.
Extent: 102 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Sociology, 1954-2017

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