Gender Differences In Media Coverage for Candidates Running in Presidential Nomination Races : A close look at Clinton and Dole




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Political Science


The media plays an interesting and intricate role in the election process. Theinformation the media presents to voters is used by voters to form opinions on candidates and issues. As a result, voters take these opinions into the voting booths with them. Female candidates running for elected office often find themselves being treated differently by the media than the male candidates they are running against. Previous research has indicated that female candidates receive less overall coverage than their male counterparts. In addition, themedia often chooses to focus on female candidates' personal lives, personality, and horserace positions more so than male candidates. The media also tends to associate female candidates with feminine issues such as education or healthcare and male candidates with masculine issues like foreign policy or taxes. This research analyzes the media coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her male competitors during the pre-primary period of the 2008 Democratic presidential nominationprocess. Clinton's media coverage was compared to the media coverage Elizabeth Dole experienced during her run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1999. This was done to discover if any patterns regarding media coverage of women running for a presidential nomination were apparent. It is necessary to analyze the media coverage of these two women because they are the only two women in recent years to campaign for a presidential nomination.