There is much previous research that deals with the question of how media affects the opinions and minds of the people. Scholars such as David A. Siegal argue that in the current digital world, the media can affect the outcome of the election as much as the candidates themselves. In an American Political Science Review journal article, Siegal writes “Second, social networks can amplify the effect of media bias. A biased media outlet that systematically under- or over-reports a poll of the population by a only a few percentage points can in some cases swing aggregate behavior (e.g., turnout or vote share) by over 20% in either direction due to positive feedback within the network”.

This project will analyze news articles and news broadcasts related to the 2016 presidential elections, particularly by Adams County news sources or national news that deals with Pennsylvania. With these articles, I will create a timeline of them leading up the 2016 election in Adams County. I will use text analysis by use of Voyant Tools to show what words were used most in the report. At the end of the timeline, there will be the 2016 Adams County election results. On the research conclusion page, there will be an analysis on how these biased reports may have contributed to the these polls. This type of biased reporting is a threat to democracy and threatens the idea of free political thinking. My audience includes any scholar looking to research political media and how political media can be good for or a threat to democracy. This is also for anyone looking to learn more about political journalism in general.

What is Media Bias?

Media bias is when a news outlet presents news that obtains an opinion on the issue by means of wording or facts provided within the article. As David H. Weaver said in an The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science journal, news is becoming more and more accessible to everyone and the threat of media bias has become greater than in the past. Nearly any voters who have a smartphone or television can be influenced by bias reporting.

Below, student Sophia Lobkowicz describes the study of this bias through means of tools such as text analysis at a TEDx talk.

This is a Ted Talk in which Sophia Lobkowicz explains her media bias project. This is very similar to mine, just a different specific area of focus.

Project Content

  • A timeline including local Adams County based news articles that seem biased. These articles are all leading up to the 2016 election and deal with different viewpoints and stories about the campaign. 
  • A video timeline that shows bias national news broadcasts and a description of why they are biased. These news broadcasts are national, yet many of the broadcasts include stories about Pennsylvania.
  • A text analysis page with the most common words from the articles and a web that shows what words were linked with other words the most.
  • A conclusion page that gathers my findings and compares it to other scholarly researchers and their theories.

Tools Used

Timeline JS was used for my article timeline
Voyant Tools was used for my text analysis diagrams


Email: Carner01@gettysburg.edu

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erik-carneal-0b4876177