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Title Caught in the web of scapegoating : national coverage of California's Proposition 187
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Jounalism
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Texas – Austin
Abstract The current heated national debate over immigration policy is a reminder of the contentious relationship the United States historically has had with its immigrant population, especially those who enter the country without proper documentation. For example, a major issue confronting California voters in 1994 was Proposition 187, a plan to deny social services to the state’s undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom were nonwhite. In this study, I argue that this issue took place during an immigration “panic,” one of several that took place in the United States during the 20th century. In these “panics,” which also occurred in the 1930s, the 1950s and the 1970s, undocumented immigrants served as convenient scapegoats for larger social ills. A significant and under-researched aspect of these events was the role played by the major U. S. mainstream media in perpetuating this scapegoating process. The study takes an in-depth look at how the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times covered the 1994 debate over Proposition 187, which occurred during the most recent of these immigration panics. It concludes that these newspapers’ coverage of 187 was shaped by the discourse of California’s elite politicians (both liberal and conservative) that focused on the predominantly non-white population of undocumented immigrants as “the problem.” By framing the undocumented as deviant, this coverage helped perpetuate the elite “blame the victim” discourse that diverted public attention from other issues facing the state, such as the fact that California was enduring its most significant recession since the Great Depression.
Subjects/Keywords California. – Proposition 187 (1994); Illegal aliens – Services for – California; Illegal aliens – Education – California; New York times; Los Angeles times; Mass media – Influence
Contributors Jensen, Robert (advisor); Whitney, D. Charles (David Charles), 1946- (advisor)
Language en
Rights Copyright is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2152/17820
Repository texas
Date Indexed 2020-10-15
Grantor The University of Texas at Austin
Note [] text; [department] Journalism;

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…Table of Contents 1. Introduction 1 2. Ideology and the Media 3. Race and the Media 6 28 4. Race and Immigration in California 69 5. Research Questions and Methodology 101 6. The Los Angeles Times and Proposition 187 7. The New York Times…

…and Proposition 187 8. Conclusions 208 Bibliography 217 Vita 225 viii 126 181 Chapter 1 Introduction Undocumented immigration is a topic of heated debate in the United States today, from the halls of Congress, to the streets of Los Angeles and…

…relationship the United States historically has had with its immigrant population, and especially with immigrants who enter the country without proper documentation. For example, a major issue confronting California voters in 1994 was Proposition 187, a plan to…

…the proposition was approved overwhelmingly by state voters. Analysts tell us that although the candidates disagreed on whether 187 was worthy of support, all agreed that the state had an immigration problem and that undocumented immigrants were the…

…people of color in the day-to-day coverage of a specific issue. 2 In this study I examine media coverage of Proposition 187. Although the primary debate took place in California, the issue has national significance. Undocumented immigration isn’t just…

…media presented Proposition 187 to their audiences. How could the U.S. mainstream media, which operates autonomously and does its best to present what it considers balanced, fair articles, consistently misrepresent people of color? To begin to answer…

…overview of how media coverage of nonwhites has been problematic. To understand media coverage of Proposition 187, it’s important to understand that the proposition wasn’t an idiosyncratic event, but rather the reappearance of a recurring theme in…

…York Times and the Los Angeles Times, covered Proposition 187: this chapter concludes with an explanation of how I sampled this coverage for analysis. Chapters 6 and 7 are my analyses of how the two newspapers covered 187. For comparative purposes, I…