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Media portrayal of Sarah Pallin

Page history last edited by cpumphrey@... 14 years, 6 months ago

For each entry, include the following as the TITLE

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"Palin Criticizes Obama as Faux Feminist"

Larry Rohter

New York Times online


October 21, 2008

October 21, 2008


Tuesday afternoon Governor Sarah Palin, Republican nominee for vice president, attacked Senator Obama classifying him as a faux feminist at a rally near Las Vegas.  She criticized Obama for not choosing Senator Hillary Clinton as his running mate and accusing him of paying the females who work on his staff less than the men.  Palin spoke flanked by female supporters she classifies as members of the Democratic platform committee and the National Organization for Women, attacking singling out women owners of small businesses, one she described as "Irma the Restaurant Owner."  Palin went on to say "Our opponents think they have the women's vote all locked up, which is a little presumptuous since only our side has a woman on the ticket." also going on to discuss the fact that he couldn't bring himself to choose a woman who received 18 million votes in the primaries.  Palin classifies herself as a feminist pioneer, despite the fact that she doesn't see eye-to-eye with leading feminist groups over issues like abortion.  Palin referred to information that shows that the women in Obama's office earn only 83% of wages paid to male employees, a salary difference of roughly $5,000 a year.  She goes on to say, "I know one senator who actually does pay women equally," referring to McCain.  "That's something I admire about John McCain, he's not someone who makes excuses."  Anita Dunn, senior advisor to Obama, backs him up saying Obama has intentions to help working women, while Palin's campaing just offers more negative attacks.


This article appears to be somewhat fair showing little bias to my knowledge, although the articles's main focus is on Palin, where they only allow Obama a very small paragraph where his senior advisor tries to negate Palin's comments and accusations.  This only constitutes as slight bias though because it is an article focusing solely on Palin.  Now if the title of the articel and focus was more broad, where both candidates discussed the issue, then this would be considered bias because Palin takes up way over the majority of the article.  But since the article is about Palin's comments on Obama's campaign and what she believes there is no bias.  If anything, the small section concerning Obama helps the article, bringing in the side of the opposition, through Palin's perspective.  A majority of the article seems to be focused on Palin taking shots at Obama where, Obama does nothing of the sort in retaliation.


Chris Pumphrey


"$150,000 Wardrobe for Palin May Alter Tailor-Made Image"

Patrick Healy and Michael Luo

New York Times online


October 22, 2008

October 23, 2008


Sarah Palin's wardrobe received an upgrade just this past Wednesday as Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Palin as an average "hockey mom" would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with high-end clothing.  Radio stations and shows like "Access Hollywood" seemed intrigued after campaign finance reports confirmed that the Republican National Committee spent roughly $150,000 on Palin and her family in September alone.  Advisers to Palin said the purchases were made just after Palin was chosen as the Republican vice-presidential candidate and that she needed clothing to match the different climates of the 50 states, as they emphasized that it was other people, not Palin herself, who went out to purchase the clothing.  Republicans expressed that the shopping sprees would compromise Palin as McCain's chief emissary to middle-class voters.  Advisers to Obama said that campaign money was never spent on personal clothing but that such purchases could be blended into advertising budgets.  Palin as well as the Republican Party have seen much criticism for the move, both from the Democrats who point out that Obama nor his wife currently wear such high-end clothing, as well as from the media.  For example, co-host to ABC's "The View", Joy Behar, noted the McCain campaigns outreach to blue-collar workers, saying that "I don't think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks,".  While the Republicans reply the purchases were only made to get her through "three months of grueling campaigning in the constatnt spotlight of television cameras." also adding, "no one would blink if this was a male candidate."  Also adding that the clothing will be donated once the campaign has commenced.


This article comes off as being relatively fair showing little bias to my knowledge.  The article is completely focused on the topic that which it presents in the title.  It strictly limits itself to discussing about Palin's new wardrobe upgrade, whereas I see no noticeable information where it discusses about Obama's thoughts on the topic.  The only thing said was that Mrs. Obama wears much less-expensive clothing, and that had no impact on the flow throughout the article.  The title sticks to what it says, only talking about the new wardrobe.  The bias seems to be where the article talks about how much cheaper the clothing of Obama and his wife is as compared to Palin's.


Chris Pumphrey


"Emphasizing Frugal Tastes, Palin Addresses Clothing Issue"

Julie Bosman

New York Times online


October 26, 2008

October 27, 2008


Sunday afternoon Governor Palin went in front of a Floriday rally to discuss the matters of "the whole clothes thing" as she put it.  Going on to say that she has constantly tried to ignore the whole situation because it's ridiculous, but can't seem to get away from it.  Only five days after financial disclosure forms varified that the Republican National Committee spent upwards of $150,000 on clothing and accessories for Palin and her family.  Palin has mostly kept to herself on the topic, avoiding it at all costs, as many Republicans see the purchases as "embarassing and excessive."  Palin went on to say that the clothes don't even belong to her, adding that she now has switched back to her own apparel from a small shop in Anchorage.  As a way to possibly epitimize her frugal tastes, at the rally Palin wore handmade beaded earrings; $35 wedding ring she bought herself; and a flag pin commemorating her son, Track.  McCain backs Palin up saying that she lives a frugal lifestyle, that she and her family are middle-class and are not wealthy; while spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt added that the clothing is going to be donated to charity once the convention is over.  Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who accompanied Palin at the rally, fully supports Palin saying, "Instead of the issues, they are focused, fixated on her wardrobe,"; calling the act as being deliberately sexist. 


I believe the article is objective and fair, showing little bias at all.  The article focuses only on Palin's side, as Obama really has no say in topic, as Palin tries to deflate the "whole clothes thing."  It gave her a chance for her to speak her part on the issue, something she has not done up until now.


Chris Pumphrey


Overall, I believe the three articles are relatively fair and objective.  The first one, in my opinion, does however show some bias in that it does not supply Obama with much time to discuss the issue, it seems to focus more so on Palin's thoughts.  But as for the other two articles, I see them as being fair showing little bias in the second article as it brings in Obama and his wife's wardrobe, downgrading Palin in a way.  While I saw no real bias that caught my eye, as it gave Palin an opportunity to speak her mind of the clothing issue that has recently risen, this article seems to be the least bias of the three.  But through and through, all three articles come off as being relatively fair to the subjects being discussed, as they all seem to carry a little bit of bias.  I believe the media is focusing too much time and attention on Palin's whole wardrobe situation.  I don't really see what that is accomplishing, in a way it just feels like the medial is just searching for anything to write on concerning the election at this point.  In a more general sense, I believe the media is focusing too much on Palin's gender, at first it was something that was worth discussing, but by this point I just feel they are addressing the obvious that we've known for months.


After reading all of the articles I have found, I still notice that the media has continued to stress, in my opinion too much, Palin's gender.   Here we are with election day right around the corner and the media is still talking about her gender.  I understand it's big for the fact that should could be the first female vice president in American history, but it's getting a little overplayed.  One of the articles supports my claim very well, bringing up the whole sex issue and putting it out in the open.  The article I had in mind was my third one, "Emphasizing Frugal Tastes, Palin Addresses Clothing Issue."  Palin and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who accompanied Palin at the rally, bring up some solid claims towards the end of the article.  Hasselbeck says that they aren't focusing on the issues, that they are completely focused on Palin's new wardrobe, deliberately calling it sexist.  This article as well as the second one, that which discussed Palin's new $150,000 wardrobe, are not even worried about the issues at hand, they are only focused on her clothing.  And at this point, with the election just six days out, that should be the farthest things from our minds.  Just the fact that the media even wrote an article on her new wardrobe upgrade shows that the media is just thinking of anything to write about at this point.  The third article gives Palin the chance to speak on the issue, as she has remained quiet til now.  She explains that the clothes aren't hers, and that the money was provided for her from the party.  Her advisor goes on to say that the clothes will be donated to charity after the convention.  But these two articles support the claim that at this point the media is focusing on non-important issues; while they should be focusing on issues, instead they're worrying about Palin's clothing.  



     There was not much bias that I could easily find with these three articles as two of them were discussing the whole wardrobe situation with Palin, an issue I saw as not influential by that point in the election.  I was unable to find legitimate articles by that point and time as the media began to take the election to turn it into some sort of soap opera.  If anything, the first articles where Obama is described as a 'faux feminist' has a conservative while the two others appear to carry a more liberal bias. 

I.     Bias by commission:     The Times carries more of a conservative bias in Rohter's article.  He obviously provides us with the perspective of the conservatives on the issue, but not so      much for the liberals, if any.

     a.     The article supplies with a lot of sources from Palin and the conservatives side of the argument as she criticized Obama for claiming himself as a feminist when she clearly      thought he was not.  Where as there is very little amount of source and perspective coming from Obama's side, it was not even him who addressed the issue, it was an advisor.  This      can classify as bias by commission through presenting only one perspective on an issue.          

II.   Bias by omission:     In Rohter's article The Times also puts a conservative bias through omission.  Since predominant amount of the article is taken up by conservative argument,      doesn't leave much for the liberals, omitting their response to the issue.

     a.     Vice versa to bias by commission, the results are opposite, where there is only one perspective presented, leaves no argument for the other side.  The article while it gives      substantial sources from the conservative side, and none from the liberal side.

III.  Bias by placement:     New York Times writer Patrick Healy provides a liberal bias to his article about Palin's wardrobe upgrade through placement. 

     a.     Through writing about Palin's new wardrobe about how expensive and controversial it was, he could potentially be downplaying the support of conservative views.  In the article      Healy criticizes the new wardrobe of Palin characterizing it as unnecessary could possibly give people the idea that the Republican Party just throw around money toward      meaningless efforts, saying they're careless with their finances; which could downplay the support of the Republican party, exemplifyiing a liberal bias.

IV. Bias by labeling:     New York Times puts a conservative bias of labeling on the wardrobe article, while putting a liberal bias of labeling on the articles of dealing with Palin's wardrobe.

     a.     In Rohter's article there is bias by labeling as the conservatives, in particular Palin, describe Obama as a 'faux feminist'.  Where you do not see anything that notes the liberals      classifying or labeling any of the conservatives as such.  While in the other view in Healy's article over the wardrobe issue there is bias of labeling in a liberal bias where the author      criticizes the Republican party for their financial actions, where you do not see any labeling of the liberals for their misuse of finances.

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