Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Speech Communication

First Advisor

Andrew A. King


This study employs a historical/critical approach to analyze the response of the Clinton Administration to the Haiti situation during 1993. The relationship between contemporary presidential crisis communication and the agenda-setting and agenda-extension functions of the press is especially considered. Specifically, this study employs a frame analysis which compares the frame generated by the Clinton Administration with that used by the press, represented by New York Times and the Washington Post. The importance of this study lies in its timeliness; President Clinton is the first atomic-age President not to have the Cold War meta-narrative to use in legitimating international crises. Prior studies in presidential crisis rhetoric found that the President receives broad and consistent support during times of crisis. This study found that the press advanced an oppositional frame that stressed a domestic focus, while the frame used by the Clinton Administration stressed a foreign policy focus. The frames were found to limit the options of the Clinton Administration when dealing with the Haitian crisis, even during the most crucial time of the crisis. Thus this study discovered evidence that President/press interaction during times of crisis have changed since the ending of the Cold War.