Date of Award
Master of Science
Terry L. Besser
Various research concerning presidential elections attempts to explain how voters evaluate candidates. Recent work suggests that, in general, the mass media has great influence on election outcomes. In The Performance of Politics: Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power (2010), Jeffrey Alexander proposes that campaigns have become theatrical, i.e., politicians resemble actors. Therefore, to achieve success, politicians must employ the media to project positive images of themselves. This paper used Alexander’s analogy as inspiration for the comparison of Barack Obama’s pre- and post-election media depictions. A content analysis of New York Times editorials covering a period of one year following Barack Obama’s election was conducted, the findings of which are compared to Alexander’s conclusions regarding Obama’s pre-election media depiction. Candidate Obama and President Obama, respectively, were found to be framed inconsistently. The results are evidence of more varied and negatively toned media portrayals of Obama since he has become president. The present work explores the circumstances that have fueled such portrayals and elucidates the resulting shift in Barack Obama’s image.
Jeannice L. Louine
Louine, Jeannice L., "Media Representation of Barack Obama: A Pre- and Post-Election Comparison" (2016). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15760.