When journalists say what a candidate doesn't: Race, nation, and the 2008 Obama presidential campaign

Penelope Sheets, Charles M Rowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research indicates that U.S. news coverage of non-White political candidates tends to be race-focused and often prompts White voters to bring racial considerations to the polls. Indeed, racial considerations likely cost Barack Obama a significant percentage of White voters in the 2008 presidential election. Nonetheless, scholarship also suggests that Obama aggressively sought to transcend difference-racial or otherwise-during his 2008 campaign via explicit appeals to the national identity. Given these competing dynamics, we conducted a content analysis of both Obama's nationally televised campaign speeches and U.S. news coverage to assess the relative salience of nation- and race-related language present in this discourse. We find that Obama consistently emphasized nation over race, but that journalists overwhelmingly reprioritized race over nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3621-3643
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Volume9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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journalist
candidacy
campaign
Costs
news
coverage
presidential election
national identity
appeal
content analysis
discourse
present
costs
language

Keywords

  • 2008 U.S. presidential election
  • Nation
  • News values
  • Obama
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

Cite this

When journalists say what a candidate doesn't : Race, nation, and the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. / Sheets, Penelope; Rowling, Charles M.

In: International Journal of Communication, Vol. 9, No. 1, 01.01.2015, p. 3621-3643.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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