, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 121-130
Date: 16 Dec 2008

Representations of Race and Gender in Mainstream Media Coverage of the 2008 Democratic Primary

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Abstract

This paper presents a critical examination of the representations and code words for race and gender used in coverage of the Democratic primary between January 2008 and June 9, 2008. This analysis included all coverage in the New York Times and two cable television news channels (CNN, MSNBC). With an election pitting a black man against a white woman, media has been forced to go behind the colorblind curtain that typically ignores all but the most obvious references to race. Evidence illustrates how the mainstream media, in creating a story that resonates with commonsense understandings of race, gender and power, reworks representations of the candidates in a way that does not challenge white, masculine hegemony.