Title

Constructing Race in Black and Whiteness: Media Coverage of Public Support for President Clinton

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2002

Abstract

This study employs a framing analysis of media explanations regarding public support for President Clinton during the 1998 coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. An analysis of broadcast, newspaper, and magazine stories during the scandal reveals that media coverage of support for the President focused exclusively on African Americans. Five discursive frames were used to explain African American support: morality, political pragmatism, distrust of the criminal justice system, forgiveness/redemption, and Clinton's rapport with African Americans. Although these frames construct blackness using a variety of characteristics seldom found in the media, they also construct the concept of blackness in near universal and essentialist terms. Media explanations of Black support at the expense of explanations of White support (or lack thereof) for the President reinforce a racial hierarchy whereby whiteness serves as an invisible racial norm.

Publication Name

Journalism & Mass Communication Monographs

Volume Number

4

First Page

114

Last Page

156

Issue Number

3

Publisher

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

DOI

10.1177/152263790200400301