Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Zachary Courser

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2021 Kyle M. Fendorf


Mass media within the United States have changed tremendously since the 1980s. As deregulation became a dominant theme within the government, the Federal Communications Commission loosened regulations on the media and allowed large conglomerates to arise. At the same time, shifting conditions within the industry have encouraged firms to seek new ways of outcompeting their rivals and making a larger profit. A principal change has been to build media around outrage rhetoric. While outrage rhetoric has led to increasing profits for media firms, it has also had a profound effect on the public discourse within the United States. As outrage outlets proliferated and took up a larger space within the U.S. media, their views and rhetoric began to influence the electorate, especially Republicans. Politicians were incentivized to acknowledge the views of their constituents and, as such, a brand of outrage politics developed, in part, to the standards set by outrage media. A further outcome is the polarization within both the general electorate and the political institutions of the United States. Deregulation and associated media changes has also enabled the rise of politicians outside of the traditional mold, whose specialty is catering to outrage media and the voters they influence.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.