Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Laurance Paul Strait

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Laura Alberti

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Laura Stengrim

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dave Davies

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Ed Simpson

Committee Member 5 School



This research aims to investigate aims to critically assess how mediated participants utilize new media spheres deliberate upon perceptions of power through rhetorical criticism and critical discourse analysis. Since the conception of social media, users have utilized the platforms to network, negotiate, and dissent from controversies through mediated public deliberation. The present study aims to nuance how Habermas’ original conception of deliberative rhetoric has transformed through new media deliberation. To exemplify this change in deliberative rhetoric, the present study will also critically evaluate online social movements through the case study of the AOC Tik Tok Challenge, responses to online controversies through YouTube apology videos, and the comment data from YouTube apology videos to understand how responses to controversy are accepted, rejected, and renegotiated through public discourse. Research findings suggest that deliberative rhetoric has shifted from a focus on matters of policy to issues of ideology. Further, social media discourse suggests that new media proposes new methods of argumentation through an emphasis on individualistic messaging contributing to larger public sentiment and the use of parasocial relationships to articulate perceptions of hegemony.


I would like to acknowledge my advisor, Dr. Laurance Paul Strait, for his perpetual interest, guidance, and encouragement through the dissertation and my graduate career. Through my academic career, he has met each idea, question, or interest with enthusiasm and nuance. Dr. Strait’s guidance was integral in instilling confidence in myself. His lessons extend beyond the pages of this dissertation and serve as a foundation for life beyond graduate studies. Further, I would like to thank the members of my committee for their continuous feedback and support. Particularly, I would like to thank Dr. Laura Alberti and Dr. Laura Stengrim for their approaches to workshopping. Ultimately, several chapters of this project would not be possible without their advisement. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Dave Davies and Dr Simpson for their feedback on inquiring about areas of inquiry that seemed promising and, more importantly, telling me what did not.

Available for download on Monday, May 20, 2024