Not So Different After All - Journalists Use Gendered Language Too

Abstract

Does the media use gendered language when discussing politics? It is well known that the media shapes the mass public’s understanding of political events. Some of the literature points to the media’s role in using the game schema (Patterson 1993, 2017) to emphasize the differences between the parties and the competitive nature of politics. Others, have discussed the media’s role in adopting stylistic differences among partisans in their news coverage. This paper argues that, like politicians, journalists use a partisan style, in this paper gendered language, in their press coverage. The paper then lays out a textual analysis of articles on feminism and economic policy and events from ideological sources to be compared against the Roberts and Utych (2020) gendered language dictionary. When doing this, I discover that journalists at a conservative news agency use more masculine language than their colleagues at a liberal news agency. These findings may indicate that there are intentional decisions by journalists and their editors about stylistic, and not just content, decisions in how to cover political events.

Avatar
Damon C. Roberts
PhD Candidate

Lab Fellow at the American Politics Research Lab, PhD Candidate, Public Opinion, Political Psychology, Computational Social Sciences.