US Presidential Elections 2016: A Comparative Study of Media Coverage of CNN and FOX News

© Media Watch 10 (3) 675-686, 2019
ISSN 0976-0911 E-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2019/v10i3/49698

US Presidential Elections 2016: A Comparative Study of Media Coverage of CNN and FOX News

Rohail Asghar¹, Mohsin Hassan Khan², Rashid Ali Khuhro³,
Hamedi Mohd Adnan4, & SARA Hamad Alqurainy5
1Superior University, Lahore, Pakistan
³University of Sindh, Pakistan
2,4,5University of Malaya, Malaysia


The Presidential Elections in the United States have always remained the focus of attention for public and media. By playing the role of watchdog in the American society, mass media looks keenly and deeply on the policies, personal life, and character of Presidential Candidates during Presidential Elections of the country. The study examines and compares news coverage of the United States of America’s (USA) Presidential Elections-2016 of two most Papular cable news television networks, i.e., FOX and CNN. This quantitative content analysis study purposively selected ninety news stories which were aired during the USA Presidential Elections-2016 from August 7, 2016, to November 7, 2016. The chosen news stories were analyzed according to the Framing theory’s episodic and thematic frames. The findings reveal that the CNN, a leading supporter of Hillary Clinton, frames her more episodically and more thematically to Donald Trump in its stories. On the other hand, the FOX News stories presented Donald Trump more in the episodic frames and Hillary Clinton in more the thematic frames. The study concludes that both news channels, FOX and CNN have mostly framed both USA Presidential Elections’ candidates; Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton episodically by focusing more on their scandals and controversies related to their personal lives or character rather than on their policies and debates.

Keywords: US Presidential Elections 2016, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, FOX, CNN, episodic, thematic


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Hamedi Mohd Adnan (Ph.D., University of Malaya, Malaysia, 2001) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

Rohail Asghar is a lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication Studies, Superior University, Lahore, Pakistan.

Mohsin Hassan Khan is a doctorate candidate in the Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

Rashid Ali Khuhro is a lecturer in the Center for Rural Development Communication (CRDC), University of Sindh, Pakistan. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in the Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Malaya.

Sara Hamad Alqurainy is a doctorate candidate in the Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Malaya.