Last Man Standing: Media, Framing, and the 2012 Republican Primaries

Last Man Standing: Media, Framing, and the 2012 Republican Primaries

by Danielle Sarver Coombs


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When Barack Obama was re-elected president in November 2012, his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, took the blame for being alternately too moderate or too conservative. Critics from both within and outside of his party claimed his vast wealth made him unappealing to voters and that his robotic persona meant he just could not connect. How, then, did he win the nomination? What happened during the twelve-month build-up to Romney being named the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party that helped define him as both a man and a candidate? Furthermore, how did media coverage frame his competitors and the race itself, a contest characterized by its rollercoaster nature?

Last Man Standing examines mainstream media coverage of the 2012 Republican primary season to identify and examine the frames used to make sense of the candidates and the race. Through an exhaustive analysis of candidate-related coverage from six major media outlets (The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post for newspapers; CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC for cable news networks), Coombs weaves her examination of media frames into a compelling narrative reconstruction of the 2012 primary season.

This book features:
·Exhaustive analysis of mainstream media coverage over a twelve-month period
·Smart, insightful exploration of media frames
·Chronological structure, which allows for analysis to address how frames shift with candidate’s fortunes

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442220355
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/16/2013
Series: Communication, Media, and Politics Series
Pages: 194
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Danielle Sarver Coombs is Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.

Table of Contents

Last Man Standing

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Setting the Stage
·Understanding the Context oMedia Framing oPrimaries oCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission
·Understanding Framing in the 2012 Republican Primaries

Chapter 2: An Unsettled Field (May-June 2011)
·Meet the Candidates oTop-Tier Candidates
§Jon Huntsman
§Tim Pawlenty
§Mitt Romney oTea Party Conservatives
§Michele Bachmann
§Herman Cain
§Newt Gingrich
§Rick Santorum oThe Libertarian Fringe
§Gary Johnson
§Ron Paul
·The Race Begins oThe First Debate: South Carolina oGingrich Implodes: Parts I and II
oThe Evangelical Vote oGingrich Implodes… Again oThe Second Debate: New Hampshire oBachmann’s Buzz oCampaigns in Trouble oRick Perry: A New Alternative to Romney?

Chapter 3: The Race Intensifies (July-August 2011)
·The Rise of Michele Bachmann
·Pawlenty’s “Failure to Launch”
·Huntsman’s “Difficulty Gaining Traction”
·Romney’s Focused Campaign
·Perry: A Conservative’s Dream
·All Eyes on Iowa oThe Ames Straw Poll
·Perry “Jolts” the Field
·Paul’s Predicament
·Limiting the Pool

Chapter 4: The Rollercoaster Continues (September-October 2011)
·The Candidates Debate: Simi Valley, CA and Tampa, FL
·Perry versus Romney
·Perry Under a Microscope
·Romney: The “Eat-Your-Vegetables” Candidate
·Focus on Florida oRaising Cain: The Florida Straw Poll
·The Rise (and Fall) of “Anti-Romney” Candidates oPerry Falls Short oBachmann’s Lost Her Buzz oPaul Beginning to Surge oCain: The Latest Flavor-of-the-Month
·October Debates: Hanover, NH and Las Vegas, NV
·Moving Right
·Romney: Establishment’s Choice, but What About Voters?
·The Influence of Debates
·Getting Ready for the Final Stretch

Chapter 5: The Final Stretch (November-December 2011)
·Cain: A Candidate Mired in Controversy
·Vying for Support
·Cain’s Foreign Policy Debacle
·Romney: Disciplined Campaigner
·The Rebirth of Gingrich
·The End of Cain
·Campaigning in December: The Final Sprint Begins oRomney: Changing Strategy?
oCan Gingrich Maintain His Position in the Top Tier?
oFive Days, Three Debates
·Realities of Winter Campaigns
·Rallying Behind a Conservative Candidate

Chapter 6: Voting Begins (January-February 2012)
·The Iowa Caucuses Begin
·Moving on to New Hampshire
·South Carolina: The First Southern Primary
·Creating Racial Tensions
·Florida: Romney Fights Back
·Santorum’s Resurgence
·Romney’s Uncertain Terrain
·Santorum: The Conservative Alternative?
·Gingrich: His Own Worst Enemy?
·Paul: Looking for Leverage
·Arizona and Michigan: Romney’s Resurgence?

Chapter 7: Last Man Standing (March-April 2012)
·A Delegate Strategy
·Build-Up to Super Tuesday
·No Clear Winner on Super Tuesday
·Romney: No Excitement, No Inspiration
·Santorum’s Wild Ride
·Gingrich and Paul: Still Running, Too
·Mid-March Madness
·April: The Race Winds Down
·Romney: The Last Man Standing

Chapter 8: Conclusion
·Framing Candidates and Issues
·Impact of the Tea Party
·What Happened in 2012?
·Pragmatism versus Ideology

Appendix: Methods
·Data Collection oNewspaper Articles
§Table A.1: Newspaper Articles Included in Study oCable News Transcripts
§Table A.2: Cable News Transcripts Included in Study oDrawing the Sample
·Textual Analysis
·A Final Note on Methods


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Last Man Standing: Media, Framing, and the 2012 Republican Primaries 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coombs' research and writing skills have produced an exceptionally readable and enjoyable discussion of the role media played as Americans selected their President. Currently a professor at Kent State University, Coombs has incorporated varied media sources; as a result, readers will gain insights into the processes of our national media. Her personal biases are clearly stated; I learned a couple more of mine as I read.