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The Portrayl of Race in the 2008 Presidential Election
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The Portrayl of Race in the 2008 Presidential Election

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In Spring 2009 I presented my Independent Study at the Fredrick Douglas Conference. My study focused on how the mass media portrays race specifically during the 2008 Presidential Election.

In Spring 2009 I presented my Independent Study at the Fredrick Douglas Conference. My study focused on how the mass media portrays race specifically during the 2008 Presidential Election.

Published in: News & Politics
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  • 1. MASS MEDIA’S PORTRAYAL OF RACE: THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Catherin Reuther Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • 2.  Racial identification is developed through social interaction (Doyle and Kao 2007).  Sullivan & Johnson (2008)  The color of the skin within Black society has a debate of who is Black enough.  When examining the aspect that during the election when Obama’s degree of “Blackness” was brought into questions instances when he was experiencing racism Blacks supported him as a form of solidarity.
  • 3.  Major & Coleman (2008)  The media affects what people think about politics. Evidence has been found that news content can be affected by stereotypes.  In a case of a woman running against a minority in a campaign the minority’s race received more coverage then the woman gender.  Race is the most influential predictor of voting behavior (Stockley 2008).  Druckman (2005) did a comparison between television news and newspapers. He concluded that newspapers have more of an impact on voters then television due to quality not quantity.
  • 4. Methods  Top 14 Newspapers based on circulation  LexisNexis Academic Database  News  Term- Candidates last name in quotations  Headline only  US Newspapers & Wires
  • 5. Table 1.1- Top 14 Newspapers Name of Newspaper Circulation USA Today 2,281,831 Wall Street Journal 2,070,498 LexisNexis did not Times New York contain the following newspapers in 1,121,623 its database; Los Angeles Times*** Chicago Tribune, Long Island Newsday, 907,997 San Francisco Chronicle, and the Arizona Republic. It Washington Post 740,947 also only contained the most recent six months for the New York Daily News 708,773 Los Angeles Times. Chicago Tribune** 643,086 New York Post 565,679 Long Island Newsday ** 527,744 Houston Chronicle** 477,493 San Francisco Chronicle** 468,739 New York Newsday 459,305 Arizona Republic** 452,016 Chicago Sun-Times 432,230
  • 6. Methods  There were 2 stages of analysis  Comparison of Clinton and Obama  Analysis of titles containing Obama  Titles collected based on words in reference to race  Including, race, White, Black, African American, Biracial  References to Black or African American Culture or White Culture  Positive or Negative references 3 word proximity
  • 7. Methods- Stage I  Comparison between H.Clinton and Obama  February 4, 2007- August 28, 2008
  • 8. Table 1.3- Direct Reference to Results- Stage I Table 1.2- Reference to Race Race % containing “Black” or “White” in Total number of titles % referencing race Positive Direct Reference Percentage Negative Direct Reference Percentage reference to candidate Clinton Clinton 2137 0 1.97% 0% 0 0% 0% Obama Obama 3977 5 5.93% 1.91% 66 2.29% 25.19%
  • 9. Methods- Stage II  Analysis of titles containing Obama  February 4, 2007- November 4, 2008
  • 10. Table 1.4.- Black & Biracial Results- Stage II Titles Direct Reference to Race Reference to Race Frequency Percent Frequency Percent Black 71 98.61 113 99.12 Biracial 1 .14 1 .88
  • 11. Table 1.5.- Title Categories Category Total number of titles Negative Reference Positive Reference Black 92 43 12 Black and White 11 7 0 Reference to Black Culture 28 - - Black and African-American 4 1 0 African American 7 4 1 Reference to Obama’s multiracial 2 - - status Minority 1 - - Negro 1 - - Prejudice 1 - - Race and bigotry 1 - - White 15 4 0 Race 90 - - Color 9 1 0 Total 262 60 13
  • 12. Discussion

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