Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns

Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns

Erika Falk

2.20.2008

Erika Falk

Communications scholar Erika Falk is the author of “Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns,” an analysis of media coverage of women presidential candidates. Falk is the associate program chair for the Master’s degree in Communication at Johns Hopkins University. Previously, she served as a research director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Erika Falk of John Hopkins University, author of “Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns,” discusses the press coverage trends of women candidates compared to men candidates in presidential races dating from 1872-2004. Falk compares the amount of articles written about each candidate, headlines and the amount of substantive issues the articles covered. Falk believes the most worrisome result is the impact the media bias is having on women choosing to run for office. The way the media frames women candidates as not viable and not serious not only dissuades women from running for office but also creates an untrue perception that it is harder for women to win, Falk says. Falk addresses emotional factors and says the media often depicts women as unnatural leaders, too motherly, or unable to handle crisis. “As a society that prides itself on creating a fair and equal political playing field, open to all citizens, this should be a concern,” Falk concludes.