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Edward Snowden and the Privacy vs. National Security Debate

1 January 2017


The shockwaves emanating from Edward Snowden’s actions as a whistleblower beg the research question, how do whistleblowers, specifically Edward Snowden, influence media coverage (or lack thereof) regarding the national security vs. privacy debate? There are large swaths of literature surrounding Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers, surveillance as an exercise of power, and mass media theories. News articles from May 2013 to April 2014 were coded for frames and the sources. Agenda setting analysis, journalistic norms, and policy changes were also crucial to determining Snowden’s long term impact. The results showed an initial interest by the media, followed by a drop in coverage. The indexing study showed a reliance on elite political voices, even when the information was damaging to elite political sources’ credibility, and frames illustrated a balanced use of selection and salience in news coverage.


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