Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Damon Cann

Abstract

Media coverage in political campaigns helps shape public opinion and can be a factor in people determining how to vote. Thus, bias evident in the coverage of political candidates should be a concern for a society which values fair elections. In the 2008 general election, for the first time in 24 years, a woman was on a major party ticket. The treatment of female candidates historically has been sexist. To understand the media coverage of Sarah Palin I chose to look at editorials in The New York Times. I compared her editorial references to Joe Biden’s in The Times. Then, to better understand the 2008 coverage and the treatment of gender in political campaigns, I analyzed the 1984 election. I read the editorials about Geraldine Ferraro and George Bush Sr. I looked specifically at the number of editorials which covered the candidates and how they were framed by The Times in those editorials. As a result of this research I found that the women were treated differently from the male candidates. They received substantially more coverage and were framed by their gender. The implication of these differences is that the women will have a more difficult time getting elected.

Share

COinS