Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Mass Communication and Media Arts


Spahr, Robert


The topic of this paper will be patriotic media (specifically American blockbuster movies) that propagate the narrative of inherent goodness in the United States, its armed forces, and its foreign policy. Through examination of texts on nationalism, propaganda, and its influence on the twentieth century, I aim to draw parallels to modern-day patriotism in the media. The goal being to discover if the patriotic media the American populace consumes is making them more supportive of the American armed forces and our international impact. I will also examine what factors found in patriotic media are elements most likely to cause this relationship.

Patriotic media exists as a form of soft power to keep citizens from questioning their government. Using semiotics that resonate with so-called American values, these pieces of media make it harder to separate ideologies and passion for one’s country. Calling something “unpatriotic” has long been used as a deflection for government criticism. In this project, I wish to examine several examples of patriotic media and analyze how they act as both propaganda and consumable media. I will be focusing primarily on the military-entertainment complex and its relationship between the Department of Defense and the movies we watch, as it is much more cooperative than we may think.