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Racialized Coverage of Congress: The News in Black and White

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Overview

This examination of the causes, severity, and implications of racially stereotyped media coverage of Congress incorporates original analysis of congressional media coverage and interviews with congressional press staff. The news media often portray African-American members as being primarily interested in race, overly concerned with local matters, and wielding little legislative influence. By contrast, the images African-American members attempt to project of themselves are more complex and comprehensive than the images the media communicate. The authors offer a psychological explanation for this phenomenon, the Distribution Effect, in which those who are numerically rare in an occupation tend to be lumped together rather than treated as individuals. Their findings suggest that it is the media, rather than members of Congress, who are responsible for the racialized images that appear regularly in the press. This results in an advantage for white incumbents trying to attract votes but presents an obstacle to be overcome for African-American politicians.

This study will appeal to political science, media studies, and racial studies scholars. It incorporates content analysis of the newest forum of communication, congressional Internet web sites, to disclose how white and African-American representatives in fact have similar media priorities.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275968410
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Pages: 158
  • Lexile: 1520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

JEREMY ZILBER teaches American politics, media, public opinion, and campaigns courses at the College of William and Mary.

DAVID NIVEN teaches American politics, media, campaigns, and women and politics courses at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of The Missing Majority: The Recruitment of Women as State Legislative Candidates (Praeger, 1998).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Race, Media, and Politics

A Choice between Black and White: The Scope of Racialized Coverage of Congress

Does Race Affect How Members Sell Themselves? A View from the Hill

"It's True, Isn't It?" The View from the Newsroom

The Electoral Effects of Racialized Coverage

Racialized Media Coverage: Conclusions and Implications

Summary of Results and Implications

Suggestions

Appendix

Bibliography

Index

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