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.
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 351 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 12 mm
?Appropriate for general readers and undergraduates?-Choice
"Racialized Coverage of Congress: The News in Black and White reveals the harsh truth about how the mainstream media can't get beyond race when they cover Congress. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the truth behind the headlines."-Corrine Brown (D-FL) Representative Member of Congress
"Jeremy Zilber and David Niven have provided us with a refreshing look at stereotypes--specifically the stereotype of African American members of Congress. The superficial image of these Congressional members, Zilber and Niven maintain, is mainly the result of the media themselves. The book shows that the reality of black congressmen is far more sophisticated and complex than the largely negative one depicted by the press. Professors Zilber and Niven have given us an engrossing and valuable view of the roots of racial stereotyping in American journalism."-John Merrill Professor Emeritus of Journalism University of Missouri author of Journalism Ethics
"Zilber and Niven provide us with a valuable contribution on the subject of the role of race in news coverage today. By inventive, thoughtful and thorough research on how legislators try to present themselves, how reporters respond and the news itself, their conclusions offer much more light than heat. Their results are thought-provoking, even startling. Although African-American and white members of Congress aim at the same image and share similar goals, their coverage in the news is remarkably different, with African-American legislators being shown more negatively and as more parochial. Most instructively, Zilber and Niven go well beyond the usual calls for diversifying the press corps and suggest useful correctives for journalists, legislators and the public."-Timothy Cook Professor of Political Science Williams College author of Governing With the News and Making Laws and Making News
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