The Iran-Contra Affair and the political scandals that followed it were widely considered to be some of the worst political scandals of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. However, the president escaped a majority of the blame. “Reagan’s Framing of the Iran-Contra Affair” explores the use of framing of the Iran-Contra scandal by the Reagan administration through the media. This research has determined that the reactionary framing by Reagan administration officials was strategically orchestrated by President Reagan in order maintain his image in the eyes of the public. This is supported through analysis of a variety of sources concerning the series of seemingly unconnected events that led up to the Iran-Contra Affair, President Reagan and his administration’s knowledge of and role in said events, and the reactions of the public, government, and Reagan administration following the initial exposure of the scandal. This research additionally argues that through the use of scapegoats and persuasive speeches delivered by President Reagan, he was able to frame public opinion in his favor and escape blame for the scandal as a whole. By analyzing speeches made by Reagan, the Nation Security Council’s compilation of documents on the Congressional hearings, letters Reagan wrote during his presidency, and previous historical scholarship, this research questions the outcomes of the Iran-Contra Affair as well as if, and how much, President Reagan knew about the scandal.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Blake Bergstrom

Department: History

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Raymond Hyser

Type: Oral

Year: 2017

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