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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

First Advisor

Cheryl Greenberg (Thesis Advisor)

Second Advisor

Louis Masur (Major Advisor)


After his stand against segregation in 1963, Alabama governor George Corley Wallace rose to the center of media attention in the United States. His controversial statements and political moves called for news coverage; until his last presidential campaign run in 1976, Wallace remained a burning news item. As a result, Wallace never had control over his own image. This thesis attempts to analyze newspaper coverage of Wallace from 1963 to 1976 and to highlight the ways in which papers employed the coverage of George Wallace to fit their own objectives. This research focuses on three specific publications that represent the spectrum of newspaper coverage in the United States at the time: the Chicago Defender, the Montgomery Advertiser, and the New York Times. By analyzing these papers during three particular periods of Wallace’s life, this thesis attempts to determine how each of these newspapers made editorial decisions to shape its views on the Alabama governor around the factual news about him. Each of the papers varied in its news coverage abilities and editorial powers, but they all used the liminal spaces of the newspapers – headlines, photographs, and captions, among others – to espouse the ideologies of their publication. These newspapers all embody the perpetual issue plaguing the media: the struggle between the presentation of fact and the expression of opinion. By 1976, none of the newspapers had any faith in Wallace, and they perpetuated a negative image of him. Regardless of what Wallace said or did, he was branded by his racism.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in American Studies. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only.