Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Journalism

Advisor

Gerald Jordan

Committee Member

Dale Carpenter

Second Committee Member

Kasey Walker

Keywords

Communication and the arts, Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Espionage act, Whistleblower

Abstract

On June 9, 2013, the world was introduced to Edward Joseph Snowden, a 29-year-old NSA contractor and the man responsible for the biggest leak of classified government documents in American history. Almost immediately, comparisons were drawn between Snowden and another famous whistleblower--Daniel Ellsberg, the man behind the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers. The overwhelming rhetoric surrounding the comparison was that Ellsberg was a true American patriot and that Snowden was nothing like him, that he was a traitor. Despite Ellsberg's own claims that he and Snowden are exactly alike, the media still finds Snowden lacking when comparing him with Ellsberg. This research examined a sample of new organizations' portrayals of Ellsberg and Snowden during their respective whistleblowing scandals to determine what similarities and differences exist in the coverage.

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