“Nasty” Women and “Deplorable” Men in Politics: A Content Analysis of the Online News Coverage of the 2016 United States Presidential Election.
University of Amsterdam Graduate School of Communication:
Political Communication Master’s Thesis Author: Andrea Caballero
Student ID: 13953281
Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Annelien van Remoortere Word Count: 7500
Date: July 1st, 2022
The unconventional 2016 US presidential election highlighted the distinct portrayal of women politicians in the media. Extensive gender-bias research in political news coverage has identified gender-news frames as the prime cause of this unequal coverage. However, little attention has been given to the malign intent behind the strategic usage of gender-news frames. This thesis argues that gender-bias has an intersectional impact on the dissemination of disinformation in news coverage. In order to identify said phenomenon, the thesis studies how gender-based disinformation (GBD) strategies, shaming and discrediting, are employed in political news coverage to delegitimize the image of women politicians. Specifically, the research conducts a quantitative content analysis of the online news coverage of the 2016 US presidential elections by CNN and Fox News to ascertain the extent in which GBD was used towards Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The findings revealed that CNN and Fox News used GBD tactics in their coverage of the 2016 presidential race. However, the findings show that both Clinton and Trump were targets of GBD but to varying degrees. Moreover, the analysis demonstrates that Fox News employed GBD more frequently than CNN but only on discrediting tactics targeting Clinton.
The persistence of gender inequality within governmental institutions is mirrored by (gendered) media coverage. Extensive gender-bias research in political news coverage has identified gender-news frames as the prime cause of unequal coverage (Dubosar, 2022; Garcia- Blanco &Wahl-Jorgensen, 2012; Gordon et al., 2017; Harmer et al., 2021; Heldman et al., 2018).
Consequently, women politicians have to overcome significant barriers when running for office, a challenge their male counterparts do not face to the same extent (Haraldsson & Wängnerud, 2019; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019). During electoral campaigns, gender-news frames are disseminated with the intent of delegitimizing women politicians based on harmful and often misogynistic biases. This intent cannot simply be accounted for by wider societal attitudes alone but implies a conscious effort on part of some sections of the media to actively spread disinformation with the goal of preventing women from entering high office. Currently, scholars have conceptualized the intersection of gender biases and disinformation as gender- based disinformation (GBD) (Bauer, 2015; Curzi, 2021; EU DisinfoLab, 2021; Judson et al., 2020; Oates et al., 2019; Stabile et al., 2019; Sobieraj, 2018; Wilson Center, 2021). GBD is a strategic tool used in news coverage to spread falsehoods that distort the public image of women politicians with the aim of altering public perception (Di Meco, 2019 as cited in Judson et al., 2020). This thesis studies GBD through two strategies, shaming and discrediting (Sobieraj, 2018). Therefore, to illustrate how GBD has an effect on the coverage of women politicians, this thesis analyzes the online news coverage of the 2016 United States (US) presidential election.
The purpose of the analysis is to compare the different coverage given to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on CNN and Fox News. The thesis will focus on the extent to which major online
news outlets use gendered-based disinformation (GBD) against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections. And how the usage of GBD depends on the outlet.
The findings demonstrate a higher incidence of GBD in Fox News’ online coverage of the 2016 US presidential election over CNN’s, however, this was limited to discrediting strategies that used Clinton as the reference category. Consequently, whilst the results indicate GBD was used to attack both candidates, Clinton was subject to a higher proportion of
discrediting and shaming strategies from Fox News.
Following the controversial 2016 US Presidential election, the use of disinformation in news coverage has garnered significant scholarly interest. (Alcott & Gentzkow, 2017; Bennett &
Livingston, 2018; Faris, et al., 2017; Freelon & Wells, 2020; Lazer, et al., 2018, Marwick &
Lewis, 2017). However, little attention has been given to the strategic integration of gender tactics used to spread disinformation, for instance, few disinformation studies focus on GBD because they tend to limit their scope to individual perpetrators, state-aligned disinformation, and harassment on social media (e.g. Twitter) (). This research seeks to contribute to disinformation and gender studies by analyzing how GBD is employed in online political news coverage. Doing so aids in the development of a framework for operationalizing the concept of GBD in order to explain how gender issues are weaponized in disinformation campaigns. In addition, studying GBD also provides a framework for exploring intersectional aspects of disinformation that go beyond gender (race, class, sexuality etc.).
Theory: The origins of Gender-based Disinformation
There is a plethora of current academic literature that seeks to explain how gender roles have a significant effect on the unequal media portrayal of women politicians (Conroy et al., 2020; Dubosar, 2022; Garcia-Blanco &Wahl-Jorgensen, 2012; Gordon et al., 2017; Haraldsson
& Wängnerud, 2019; Harmer et al., 2021; Heldman et al., 2018; Oates et al., 2019; Stabile, 2019). The range of studies varies in their focus with the majority analyzing coverage during electoral campaigns in social media or traditional media (i.e. legacy newspapers). In contrast, other studies want to understand if gender bias in the media has an effect outside of election periods (Haraldsson & Wängnerud, 2019). Consequently, there is an emerging branch of disinformation research that studies how its tactics intersect with gender bias.
As a result, scholars have developed the concept of gender-based disinformation. (Bauer, 2015; Curzi, 2021; EU Disinfo Lab, 2021; Judson et al., 2020; Oates et al., 2019; Stabile et al., 2019; Sobieraj, 2018; Wilson Center, 2021). GBD is defined as the spread of misleading, inaccurate, or false information in the form of text or pictures to target women politicians. The intent of GBD is to delegitimize women politicians by strategically weaponizing gender-news frames based on gender roles. The desired effect of GBD is to further political goals by undermining or blocking women’s access to positions of power (e.g. presidential office).
Existing research on GBD studies how its weaponization influences women in digital spaces introducing the concept of digital sexism (e.g. Twitter, etc.) (Judson et al., 2020; Oates et al., 2019). However, there is no current academic research that studies the influence of GBD in the coverage of women politicians running for higher office. Consequently, to explain and identify the influence of GBD in the news media’s electoral coverage, it is important to discuss how gender-news frames are strategically employed to the disadvantage of women politicians.
Gender roles and stereotypes
Undoubtedly gender bias in media coverage stems from the social prescription of gender roles. Gender roles are the socially constructed characteristics assigned to people’s behavior based on the conception of stereotypes that surround the gender binary (i.e. feminine and
masculine traits). Gender stereotypes originate from the perceived traits of women and men based on their character and biological characteristics (Nee & De Maio, 2019, pp. 307-308).
Feminine biological traits regard women as weak, attractive, healthy, young, and sexual whilst masculine biological traits regard men as strong, healthy, and athletic (Conroy et al., 2020;
Harmer et al., 2021; Nee & De Maio, 2019). Moreover, feminine character traits deem women as emotional, warm, motherly, untrustworthy, qualified, and passive. Whilst masculine biological traits deem men as composed, tough or aggressive, competitive, qualified, and dominant (Conroy et al., 2020; Harmer et al., 2021; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019). The nature of these traits follows from the idea that women are consigned to the private-domestic sphere whilst men occupy the public sphere. The dichotomy of private/public spheres excludes women from political male-dominated arena by secluding them to the personal and family life (Garcia-Blanco
&Wahl-Jorgensen, 2012; Heldman et al., 2018; Sobieraj, 2018). In this regard, masculine traits like strength, leadership, and competence award powerful positions in politics. Hence, the presence of a female figure in a position such as the presidency is incongruent with perceived gender roles. The feminization and masculinization of character and biological traits has been historically perpetuated through the foundational institutions of society, thus influencing perceptions of gender and behavior.
Furthermore, women must challenge feminine gender roles and consciously assume perceived masucline traits if they wish to be considered “legitimate” candidates for public office.
(Heldman et al., 2018). However, when they do so, women politicians are met with prejudice and awarded negative trait evaluations that influence public perception (Conroy et al., 2020;
Heldman et al., 2018). Negative trait evaluations can be explained by role congruity theory which argues that, when a group of people does not follow their prescribed roles, they are
reproached for their behavior (Eagly & Karau, 2002 as cited in Conroy et al., 2020). For
instance, women politicians are attributed with negative traits like being dishonest, unqualified, dictatorial, aggressive, tough, angry, and cold or uptight (Nee & De Maio, 2019, p. 310). The crucial factor is that some of these traits are praised when exhibited by male politicians, whereas women are criticized whether they follow or challenge gender roles. This contradictory dynamic has been termed the “double-bind dilemma” (Conroy et al., 2020; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee &
De Maio, 2019).
The gender double-bind is particularly disadvantageous for women running for public. To receive positive evaluations during electoral campaigns women candidates have to appear warm and assertive without being categorized as aggressive or cold (Nee & De Maio, 2019). For instance, scholars have found that the “double-bind dilemma’’ had a negative effect on
perceptions of Clinton during her 2008 and 2016 campaigns (Conroy et al., 2020; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019;). For example, Clinton was perceived as cold, tough,
untrustworthy, dishonest, and a liar for displaying masculine leadership traits (Conroy et al., 2020, p. 204; Heldman et al., 2018, p. 80). Nonetheless, there are cases in which the contrary occurs in the evaluation of men that are perceived to display feminine traits. For example, during the US 2016 democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders benefited from being perceived as “caring, passionate, or sincere” (Conroy et al., 2020, p. 206). In light of the influence of gender roles on the distinct evaluations of politicians, it is important to study how gender-news frames are utilized by the media.
Media Sexism and Gender-News Frames
Haraldsson and Wängnerud (2019) have introduced the term media sexism to explain how the mirroring of gender roles creates falsehoods that hinder the equal representation of
women politicians (pp. 524-525). In media coverage, gender-news frames reinforce media sexism by constructing narratives that emphasize the salience of said falsehoods (Dubosar, 2022;
Gordon et al., 2017). Strategic gender-news frames in campaign coverage can blight the public image of candidates, hence influencing readers' opinions (Dubosar, 2022; Gordon et al., 2017). It should be considered that gender-news frames can impact both men and women politicians, however, its effect has been identified to be more detrimental for the latter (Gordon et al., 2017).
The next section illustrates previously identified gender-news frames to make an assessment of the relevant frames present in the coverage of the 2016 US elections.
The selection of these frames was motivated by their particular relevance and presence in GBD strategies.
Gender-news frames perpetuate the gender double-bind by creating narratives that negatively depict women politicians based on different aspects of their personal lives. Dubosar (2022) introduced the concept of the personal frame, which highlights elements like physical appearance, personality, sexuality, and motherhood (i.e. women’s role in the family) (p. 171).
These elements overlap with several aspects present in other frames. The personality element emphasizes feminine and masculine character traits, reinforcing the contradiction created by the gender double-bind (p. 171). Likewise, frames like “the iron lady” or “the unlikeable frame”
attribute masculine traits to women so as to characterize them as “tough”, “unemotional” or too ambitious (Gordon et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018). An alternative personality element is the emotionality frame identified by Harmer et al. (2021). The emotionality frame constructs
narratives that portray women politicians as “too emotional” or temperamental, thus, questioning their suitability for leadership (p. 89). The goal of the emotionality frame is to reinforce
stereotypes that regard rationality as superior to emotionality (p. 89).
Furthermore, the physical appearance element emphasizes the differences in coverage for men and women politicians based on the focus on their style (e.g. hairstyle or fashion style), attractiveness, and physical characteristics (e.g. age) rather than policy stances (Dubosar, 2022, p. 171; Heldman et al., 2018, p. 51). There is an overlap between the physical appearance element and the sexuality element due to the objectification of women's bodies based on their
“sex appeal”. Gordon et al. (2017) and Heldman et al. (2018) have employed similar frames like the “sex object or seductress frames” to analyze how sexualizing women candidates harms their image. Moreover, there are several frames that emphasize women’s gender role as caregivers.
The role in the family element or the motherhood frame stresses the maternal obligations of women politicians and how they have an impact on their priorities and political careers (Bauer, 2015; Dubosar, 2022; Gordon et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018). Additionally, the sexuality frame intersects with the motherhood frame due to its emphasis on women’s personal
relationships (Dubosar, 2022). An example of this is the judgment of Hillary based on Bill Clinton’s sex scandals. The media held Hillary responsible for Bill’s misconduct by portraying her as a bad wife who failed to “satisfy her husband”(Dubosar, 2022; Heldman et al., 2018). This fed into Trump’s claims that Clinton is incapable of satisfying America (i.e. capable of being president).
Heldman et al. (2018) have introduced “the frail frame” which constructs narratives that portray women as too weak and ill to cope with the pressure of the presidency. The frail frame can overlap with the physical appearance frame when the media gives weight to a candidate's age by portraying them as old or tired (Heldman et al., 2018). Dubosar (2022) and Stabile (2019) have identified the health frame in the 2016 elections. Dubosar (2022) considered health and age to be part of the personal frame but did not study them as specific categories in her research.
Contrastingly, Stabile (2019) analyzed fake news stories about Clinton’s health after suffering from pneumonia during the campaign.
Finally, Heldman et al. (2018) identified the “Crooked Hillary” or “Lady Macbeth frame”
which pins on the idea that women politicians like Clinton are dishonest and corrupt and therefore not trustworthy. Trump furthered the “Crooked Hillary” frame which was fueled by speculations on the Benghazi, Clinton Foundation, and private email server scandals which portrayed Clinton as a criminal and a liar. It is notable that certain frames were not included due to their inapplicability on GBD and the 2016 elections. For instance, this thesis does not consider issue framing, the mammy frame, the pet or child frame, the woman card frame, and certain aspects of the strategic game frame (Dubosar, 2022; Gordon et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018).
Nevertheless, there are limitations to the frames presented above. First, some are not mutually exclusive, often overlapping with similar categories. Second, the frames have a specific focus on women and do not consider their impact on men. Additionally, research has analyzed these frames through case studies of mostly women politicians or public figures. Third, some of the frames have been developed through qualitative analyses of election case studies, therefore they are not generalizable.
Furthermore, gender-news frames are present in the visual attachments (e.g. video thumbnails and pictures) of online news articles. For instance, Jungblut and Haim (2021) state emotional gender stereotypes are often present in news visuals. Therefore, this study analyzes two visual frames proposed by Gibbons (2022); the conflict frame and the human interest frame.
However, it should be noted that the analysis excludes social distance frames (frames based on camera angles) as they are unrelated to GBD. Firstly, the conflict frame shows an image where two opposite parties are in dispute or quarrel (Bartholomé et al., 2018 as cited in Gibbons, 2022)
and this is particularly present in the coverage of political debates. The conflict frame can also overlap with some aspects of the strategic game frame because they portray presidential elections as a race between two parties (i.e. winners and losers) (Bartholomé et al., 2018 as cited in
Gibbons, 2022; Dubosar, 2022). The effect of these frames is unfavorable for women politicians because they venerate masculine traits like competition (Dubosar, 2022). Second, the human- interest frame draws attention to how politicians portray positive and negative emotions based on their facial expressions (Gibbons, 2022). The focus on emotions appeals to the public’s notion of emotional gender stereotypes.
All things considered, the presence of gender-news frames in the coverage of electoral campaigns creates barriers to the success of women politicians by making the falsehoods of gender stereotypes salient. Disinformation theory supports the understanding of how gender falsehoods are intentionally weaponized in order to delegitimize women politicians.
Gendered-Based Disinformation (GBD)
Above all, a definition of disinformation theory is essential for a comprehensive understanding of GBD. Disinformation is a contested term that has been increasingly re- conceptualized due to its prominence in the coverage of the US 2016 presidential election (Freelon & Wells, 2020). In this light, disinformation can be defined as the dissemination of false or deceptive information to achieve political through manipulating public perception (Alcott &
Gentzkow, 2017; Bennett & Livingston, 2018; Faris, et al., 2017; Freelon & Wells, 2020; Lazer, et al., 2018). Disinformation’s crucial distinction from misinformation is that it is spread
intentionally to cause a consequence or outcome (i.e. political goals) (Freelon & Wells, 2020).
Moreover, this thesis employs a general conceptualization of disinformation and does not account for subsets like fake news. Instead, the intersection between disinformation and gender
frames is the primary focus. In addition, the dual categorization (i.e. content and reception) introduced by Freelon and Wells (2020) is employed to limit the analysis to content
disinformation which studies dissemination, intention, and target audience (p. 150).
Freelon and Wells (2020) argue that the rise of disinformation in news coverage is ascribed to legacy media’s need to compete with emerging outlets (i.e. clickbait media) to maintain their audience (p. 147). For this, news outlets have relied on exacerbating ideological polarization through partisan coverage so as to maintain audience engagement. In doing so, partisan news media published stories plagued with disinformation serving advance particular political objectives (Faris, et al., 2017). Research on disinformation and polarization suggests a large incidence of disinformation in right-wing media outlets in order to mobilize conservative voters during election cycles (Bennett & Livingston, 2018; Faris, et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018 ). Moreover, research has shown that conservative audiences are more susceptible to disinformation strategies accounting for its prevalence. Conservative supporters are also more likely to circulate disinformation that reinforces their views (Bennett & Livingston, 2018; Faris, et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018; Freelon & Wells, 2020). Therefore, this thesis argues that conservative media outlets like Fox News perpetuate the dissemination of disinformation stories to a greater extent. Considering the different elements that constitute the disinformation
phenomenon the next section identifies a potential intersectional impact by introducing the concept of GBD.
For a comprehensive conceptual analysis of GBD, this research employs recent
definitions proposed in reports and glossaries from academics in Think Thanks and organizations that focus on tackling disinformation (Bauer, 2015; Curzi, 2021; EU Disinfo Lab, 2021; Judson, et al., 2020; Oates et al., 2019; Sobieraj, 2018; Stabile, et al., 2019; Wilson Center, 2021).
Gendered-based disinformation can be defined as the spread of misleading, inaccurate, or false information in the form of text or pictures to target women politicians. The intent of GBD is to delegitimize women politicians by strategically weaponizing gender-news frames based on gender roles. The desired effect of GBD is to further political goals by undermining or blocking women’s access to positions of power (e.g. presidential office).
The media employs GBD in partisan news content so as to negatively influence the public’s perception of women candidates. GBD is operationalized in two ways, shaming and discrediting, utilized according to the specific goal of the disinformation effort (EU Disinfo Lab, 2021; Sobieraj, 2018; Wilson Center, 2021). Shaming involves the negative judgment of women based on moral standards rarely applied to men (Sobieraj, 2018) and characterized by attacks against women’s physical appearance and sexuality. Discrediting on the other hand, involves attacking women’s credibility so as to question their suitability for public office (e.g. the presidency) (Sobieraj, 2018). Discrediting is indicated through attacks regarding women’s competence, trustworthiness, and expression of emotions. Furthermore, this analysis does not account for tactics like intimidation (doxing, swatting, and deep-fakes) because it is more prominent in social media spaces rather than new media (Sobieraj, 2018). In sum, this analysis aims to demonstrate the presence of GBD strategies in online campaign news coverage from CNN and Fox News.
In light of the theories presented above, the thesis poses the following hypotheses:
H1: Fox News will have a higher presence of gendered-based disinformation in online news articles covering Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the 2016 elections.
H2: Fox News will have a higher presence of gendered-based disinformation attacking Hillary Clinton in online news articles covering the 2016 elections.
Methodology Research Design
The thesis employed a quantitative analysis of textual and visual content (content
analysis) to provide an answer to the research questions and test the hypotheses. Content analysis is pivotal for determining the presence of GBD and comparing its usage among online news outlets. Studying the 2016 US presidential election is equally pivotal because it was the first time a woman had been selected as a (potentially victorious) nominee for the presidency and saw the high level of disinformation efforts in general. Moreover, the time frame from September to November 2016 was selected due to the upsurge in heated news coverage during the final months of the campaign.
The sample consists of online news articles from two major outlets, Fox News and CNN.
The news outlets were chosen due to their popularity, extensive election coverage, and contrasting political leaning. Both outlets have been criticized due to their overt partisan bias, CNN is considered liberal while Fox News is considered right-wing or conservative. Thus, offering the possibility to study the partisan aspects of disinformation. Moreover, the type of articles included were online news (n = 241) and opinion articles (n = 56) under the labels US politics, media buzz, polls, entertainment, opinion, US elections, and presidential debates. In addition, the analysis studied the lead visual content found in the articles, pictures (n = 48), video thumbnails (n = 248), and social media screenshots (n = 37), excluding videos or footage.
Therefore, the entire article was the unit of analysis. Furthermore, the articles were collected through the outlets’ official websites (FoxNews.com and CNN.com) and the database NexisUni.
The criteria used to gather the articles consisted of applying date filters and entering the search query: “Hillary Clinton OR Donald Trump AND presidential elections OR presidential debate”.
The filters yielded a total of 616 articles (Fox News: n = 296, CNN: n = 320). The chosen sampling method was simple random sampling which consisted of assigning a unique number to each article and selecting them by generating random numbers using the online tool
randomizer.org. The process resulted in a sample of 300 articles, however, certain articles were removed due to their unrelated content or double coding yielding a final sample of 297 articles (Fox News: n = 150, CNN: n = 147).
The codebook (see appendix A) was constructed to determine the presence (yes = 1) or absence (no = 0) of the independent variable (GBD) in online news articles. The
operationalization of GBD consisted of identifying two main tactics, shaming and discrediting, which served as reference categories. Each category was constituted by their weaponized gender- news frames (physical appearance, sexuality, trustworthiness, competence, and emotionality) working as the main themes for the analysis. Each theme was composed of several indicators to identify gender-news frames, thus, determining the presence or absence of GBD tactics.
Furthermore, the visual content was analyzed by identifying the presence or absence of the conflict frame and the human interest frame in attachments showing Trump or Clinton. Finally, to assess the potential differences in coverage between Clinton and Trump the variables were coded for each candidate. With the exception of the conflict frame which required both
candidates to appear in the visual for coding. It is important to note that the variables presented above were identified in the text of the articles including the texts present in social media screenshots, excluding the frames employed to analyze the visual content.
Intercoder reliability (ICR)
The two coders, a fellow Master’s student and the researcher, performed two rounds of inter-coder reliability. The two samples used for the analysis represented 20% of the overall article sample (CNN: n = 30, Fox News: n = 30). The ICR for each theme, except temperament (α = 0.65) and experience (α = 0.65), yielded satisfactory Krippendorff’s alpha scores ranging from 0.72 to 1 (Table 1.). The themes with low-reliability scores were further discussed between coders. Thereafter, the codebook was adapted to clarify misinterpretations and the themes were included in the final analysis.
Variable categories and themes
For the next section, the descriptives and frequencies for each variable per outlet and candidate can be found in the appendix B (Table 2-5).
Shaming was constructed by two themes: physical appearance and sexuality. Physical appearance was indicated by determining the presence or absence of physicality (n = 15), age (n
= 14), and style. It is notable that style was not present for each candidate among outlets. Hence, the physical appearance theme was present for both candidates in 9.7% of the sample (N=297).
Moreover, the indicators for sexuality included references to sexualization (n =4) and sex scandals (n =96) (i.e. Bill Clinton’s sex scandals for Hillary and personal sex scandals for Trump). References to sexuality were present for both candidates in 33.6% of the sample (N
Discrediting was constituted by three themes: emotionality, competence, and trustworthiness. First, emotionality was constructed by identifying several indicators:
temperamental or sensitive (n =32), sad (n =4), hostile (n =50), cold (n =4), and composed (n
=13). These indicators were selected based on gendered notions of positive and negative
emotions assigned to leadership roles. The emotionality theme was present for both candidates in 34.6% of the sample (N =297). Second, competence was indicated by references to health (n
=28), strength (n =50), and experience (n =61). The competence theme was present for both candidates in 44.1% of the sample (N =297). Finally, trustworthiness was constructed by indicating remarks about dishonesty, corruption, and unreliability (n =120). Remarks about trustworthiness were present for both candidates in 40.4% of the sample (N = 297).
To identify the presence or absence of the conflict frame(n =29), the visual must portray a disagreement between Trump and Clinton. The conflict frame was present in 15.5% of lead pictures and video thumbnails displaying Trump and Clinton (n = 186). Moreover, the human interest frame was constructed by identifying indicators for positive (happy or neutral) (n =147) and negative (angry or frustrated) (n = 44) facial expressions only when the conflict frame was not present in the visuals.
The aim of this thesis is to determine the presence of GBD in the news coverage of the 2016 US elections by making a comparison between online news articles from CNN and Fox News. In addition, the study particularly considered how the presence of GBD could differ according to the target, thus, making a comparison between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
In order to determine the possible differences in the frequency of GBD and test the hypotheses stated above a series of chi-square tests of homogeneity and cross-tabulations were conducted.
The results of all tests are present in appendix B (Table 1-13.).
Comparison of GBD in CNN and Fox News
Hypothesis 1 estimated that, in comparison to CNN, Fox News would have a higher presence of GBD in online articles covering the 2016 US presidential election. To measure this hypothesis, a set of chi-square tests were performed using the variables for GBD targeting Clinton and Trump separately. For Clinton, the results of the chi-squares demonstrated that within the discrediting category indicators for two themes, emotionality and trustworthiness, provided significant results. In contrast, the themes for the shaming category did not show any significant indicators (Table 6.). Moreover, the scores of the chi-squares for Trump showed no significance among indicators for the shaming and discrediting categories (Table 8.)
First, the shaming variables for the physical appearance theme show that the indicators physicality X2(1, N =296) =1.23, p = .448 and age X2(1, N =296) =1.94, p = .283 did not yield significant results for Clinton. For Trump the indicators for the physical appearance theme showed no significant results (Table 8.) Second, for the sexuality theme, the indicators
sexualization X2(1, N =296) = .31, p = 1.00 and Bill Clinton’s sex scandals X2(1, N =296) = .57, p = .507 did not show significant results. Likewise, indicators in the sexuality theme showed no significant results for Trump (Table 8.).
Third, for the emotionality theme, the indicators sensitive X2(1, N =296) = .36, p = .490, sad X2(1, N =296) = .97, p = 1.00, hostile X2(1, N =296) = .003, p = 1.00 , and cold X2(1, N
=296) = .36, p = .490 did not provide significant results for Clinton. However, the indicator stable or composed X2(1, N =296) = 3.79, p = .056, V = .11, showed that its presence has a weak but significant difference between CNN and Fox News. The results show that Clinton was
characterized as composed or stable more frequently on CNN (n =6) than on Fox News (n
=1)(Table 2.). In this regard, by characterizing Clinton as composed CNN attributed positive masculine leadership roles. Rather than employing GBD through discrediting tactics that characterize women politicians as emotional and volatile. Therefore, the significance of the indicator for emotionality, stable or composed, does not support hypothesis 1. In contrast, Trump’s indicators for emotionality showed no significant scores (Table 8.).
Fourth, for Clinton, the results for the competence theme showed no significance among the indicators: health X2(1, N =296) = 3.56, p = .087, strength X2(1, N =296) = 2.29, p = .165, and experience X2(1, N =296) = 1.08, p = .351. For Trump, the indicators of the competence theme evidence no significant results (Table 8.).
Finally, for the trustworthiness theme the indicator dishonest or unreliable X2(1, N =296)
= 1.08, p = .351, V = .16 yielded significant but weak results.This signifies that, for the variables measuring Clinton, there is a difference in the presence of trustworthiness between CNN and Fox News. The data shows that Fox News (n = 48) characterized Clinton as untrustworthy more frequently than CNN (n = 26) (Table 2.). Hence, Fox News employed discrediting tactics that attack Clinton’s trustworthiness more than CNN. Nonetheless, the trustworthiness indicators for Trump did not evidenced significant results (Table 8.). The results presented above show that only one theme for the discrediting category, trustworthiness, yields support for hypothesis 1.
However, the support can only be credited to the variables measuring Clinton.
Furthermore, the human interest visual frame for Clinton provided significant results for the indicators angry or frustrated X2(1, N =81) = 5.46, p = .029, V = .26 and neutral X2(1, N =81)
= 11.50, p = .002., V= .37 (Table 7.). The results show that there is a weak significant difference in the usage of angry visual leads between CNN (n = 1) and Fox News (n = 14). Thus, showing
that Fox News frames Clinton more frequently with visuals displaying negative emotions.
Moreover, the findings show that there is a weak significant difference in the visual framing of Clinton as neutral. CNN (n = 15) used more visuals that portray Clinton with positive emotions in comparison to Fox News (n = 11). Furthermore, the findings for the human interest frame showed no significance for Trump’s visuals (Table 9.). The results for the visual frames show that Fox News used a higher quantity of visuals that unfavorably portray Clinton. The visual portrayal of Clinton as angry or frustrated supports the intent of discrediting GBD tactics.
Particularly, the usage of emotionality frames that portray women politicians as hostile or unlikeable. Therefore, the results for the human interest frame for the anger indicator support hypothesis 1.
Considering the results discussed above, hypothesis 1 can only be supported by the discrediting category and the human interest frame for variables measuring Clinton. However, this can only be argued for two indicators: Clinton as untrustworthy and visuals of Clinton as angry or frustrated. Therefore, the results infer that the news coverage of Fox News has a higher presence of GBD than CNN.
Comparison of GBD targeting Clinton and Trump on Fox News
Hypothesis 2 predicted that the news coverage of the US 2016 presidential elections on Fox News would have a higher presence of GBD attacking Clinton more than Trump. To test this hypothesis, a set of chi-square tests were performed comparing the frequency of GBD targeting Clinton in comparison to Trump. The data shows that the themes in the shaming category resulted in three significant indicators (physicality, age, and sex scandals). Moreover, the themes in the discrediting category resulted in five significant indicators (anger, health, strength, experience, and untrustworthy) (Table 11.). First in the physical appearance theme,
there is a strong significant difference between Clinton and Trump when the articles refer to their physicality X2(1, N =296) = 42.24, p = .00, V =.53 and age X2(1, N =296) = 77.80, p = .00, V
=.72. Against theoretical expectations, Trump (n =6) received a higher amount of comments about physicality than Clinton (n =5) on Fox News, thus contradicting hypothesis 2. In contrast, Clinton (n =6) received more comments about her age in comparison to Trump (n =5) on Fox News, hence, supporting hypothesis 2.
Second, in the sexuality theme, there is a moderate but significant difference between Clinton and Trump regarding comments about sex scandals X2(1, N =296) = 31.88, p = .00, V
=.46. Trump (n =26) was subject to more comments about his personal sex scandals than Clinton (n =10) (i.e. reference to Bill Clinton’s sex scandals) on Fox News. Once again the results
contradict the expectations posed by hypothesis 2. Third, in the emotionality theme, the indicators sensitive, sad, cold, and stable did not yield significant results (Table 11.).
Nevertheless, there is a significant but weak difference between Clinton and Trump when the articles refer to them as hostile X2(1, N =296) = 9.75, p = .01, V =.25. On Fox News, Trump (n
=14) is portrayed as hostile more frequently than Clinton (n =7). Therefore, the finding does not support claims about discrediting GBD tactics that attack women politicians by framing them as hostile or angry, thus, challenging hypothesis 2.
Fourth, in the competence theme, all indicators were significant (Table 11.). There is a significant moderate difference between Clinton and Trump regarding comments about the candidates’ health X2(1, N =296) = 30.94, p = .00, V =.45. In comparison to Trump(n =8), Clinton’s (n =13) health was referred to more frequently on Fox News. Moreover, there is a significant but weak difference regarding references to strength between Clinton and Trump. On Fox News, Clinton’s (n =18) strength was mentioned on more instances than Trump’s(n =12).
Lastly, there is a significant but weak difference between Clinton and Trump in comments referencing their experience. Clinton’s (n =19) experience is mentioned more times than Trump’s (n =17) on Fox News. The findings for the competence theme are consistent with discrediting GBD tactics that frame women as weak, ill, and unqualified, therefore providing support for hypothesis 2. Finally, in the trustworthiness theme, there is a significant but weak difference between Clinton and Trump when the articles characterize them as dishonest or unreliable X2(1, N =296) = 4.25, p = .055, V =.16. Clinton (n =48) was referred to as dishonest or unreliable more times than Trump (n =24) on Fox News. The results for the trustworthiness theme are consistent with discrediting GBD tactics that frame women politicians as
untrustworthy, hence, supporting hypothesis 2.
Furthermore, the visual conflict frame did not yield significant results on Fox News (Table 11). The indicators for the human interest frame, angry and happy expressions, did not provide significant results with the exception of neutral expressions X2(1, N =296) = 9.46, p = .014, V =.60. There is a strong significant difference between Clinton and Trump regarding visuals that portray them as neutral on Fox News. Trump (n =19) is portrayed as neutral more frequently than Clinton (n =11) on Fox News.
Consequently, hypothesis 2 can be partially supported by the shaming and discrediting categories. For the shaming category, the results showed findings that contrast theoretical expectations in the physical appearance and sexuality themes. However, the age indicator supports previous research that demonstrates women politicians are targets of ageism. For the discrediting category, the findings show that the competence and trustworthiness themes resulted in significant indicators that support hypothesis 2. Nevertheless, the hostile indicator in the emotionality theme showed how, in contrast with the idea of the double bind, Trump was
characterized as more hostile than Clinton, thus going against hypothesis 2. In sum, the findings provide support for hypothesis 2 but these are limited to the competence theme, the
trustworthiness theme, and one indicator for the physical appearance theme. Hence concluding that the usage of GBD in the campaign coverage of Fox News targeted Clinton more than Trump. The implications of the findings will be further discussed in the following section.
The public image of women politicians is delegitimized by media sexism, blocking their access to public office. Therefore, the online news coverage of the 2016 US presidential
elections by CNN and Fox News has been analyzed to ascertain how the convergence of gender- news frames and disinformation (i.e. GBD) can be manipulated by the media to advance political goals. In order to identify said phenomenon, this thesis has implemented GBD as the main variable of analysis. The news coverage of the 2016 presidential race has been analyzed to assess if GBD was employed against Clinton. This thesis argues that in fact CNN and Fox News used GBD tactics in their coverage of the 2016 presidential race. However, the findings show that both Clinton and Trump were targets of GBD but to varying degrees. Moreover, the analysis demonstrates that Fox News employed GBD more frequently than CNN but only on discrediting tactics targeting Clinton. These findings provide partial support for the hypotheses set forth and can be generalized to CNN and Fox News’ 2016 campaign coverage.
In congruence with disinformation theory, Fox News, a conservative news outlet, used GBD tactics more than CNN (Bennett & Livingston, 2018; Faris, et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018). Nevertheless, this finding is limited to the presence of discrediting tactics, particularly through attacks framing Clinton as untrustworthy. The prominence of the crooked Hillary frame reinforced Trump’s campaign narrative that argues that Clinton is too corrupt and untrustworthy
to qualify for the presidency. It should be noted that the crooked Hillary frame persisted even after the FBI reported no reasons to prosecute her for criminal wrongdoing over private server email scandal (Heldman et al., 2018). For instance, Fox News (2016) constantly reported several occasions where Trump made remarks threatening Clinton with jail and calling her crooked: “Oh she’s crooked folks she's as crooked as a three dollar bill. Here's one, just came out. Lock her up is right”. In addition, the finding was consistent when Clinton and Trump’s coverage was compared on Fox News. Clinton was portrayed as a liar more than Trump despite his being continuously fact-checked and immersed in several scandals, a claim also supported by Fox News journalist Kurtz (2016). Fox News bolsters the notion of the gender double bind through negative evaluations that characterize Clinton as dishonest based on unfounded arguments about criminality (Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019).
Furthermore, comparing the usage of GBD between CNN and Fox News showed contrasting results. Rather than portraying Clinton as emotional, sensitive, and volatile, the results demonstrate that CNN significantly framed her as composed or stable (Dubosar, 2022;
Harmer et al., 2021; Nee & De Maio, 2019). Therefore, CNN’s portrayal of Clinton employed positive masculine traits that legitimize her emotional capacity to be president. Hence, this finding does not support the usage of discrediting GBD tactics that frame women as over- emotional. Conversely, Trump was characterized as temperamental (Fox News: n = 13, CNN: n
= 16) more frequently than composed among the outlets (Fox News: n = 4, CNN: n = 2). This finding did not yield significant results. However it does suggest that further research should focus on the attribution of feminine traits to male politicians.
The comparison between the candidates' coverage on Fox News demonstrated that Clinton was subject to GBD to a greater extent, particularly for discrediting tactics that condemn
competence. Fox News also made more remarks questioning Clinton’s health, strength, and experience. These findings support previous research indicating the weaponization of the frail frame in news coverage (Dubosar, 2022; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019;). In this case, Fox News portrayed Clinton as ill, tired, unqualified, and weak to reinforce gender stereotypes that deem women as incapable of enduring the responsibilities of the presidency (Dubosar, 2022; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019). The ailing Hillary news frame stems from Trump’s campaign strategy putting emphasis on Clinton’s health after suffering from pneumonia, thus questioning her fitness for office (Stabile, 2019). An example of the frail frame can be seen in the following snippet: “Long before Clinton contracted pneumonia, Donald Trump was denigrating her as “too weak,” and “lacking in energy and stamina.” This is barely coded language, meaning: The presidency is man's work, little lady” (Chafets, 2016). Fox News created speculation about Clinton’s health by reiterating comments claiming that her cough sounded like the one of a marihuana smoker (Stirewalt, 2016). “Hillary’s health” also led to disproportionate questions about her age (i.e. shaming strategy). Although Trump is 16 months older than Clinton, Fox News (2016) reported comments where he claims to see himself as a young 35-year-old man. Trump also discredited Clinton’s 30 years of political experience by classifying it “bad experience”, a narrative reflected in Fox News’ (2016) coverage of the 2016 presidential debates.
Nonetheless, Fox News’ use of GBD strategies provided significant but contrasting results for Trump. The findings show that Trump received more remarks based on his physical appearance, sexuality, and emotionality. Trump’s physicality was referred to over Clinton’s. This finding opposes research arguing that there is a disproportionate focus on women politicians’
appearance in news coverage (Dubosar, 2022; Gordon et al., 2017; Heldman et al., 2018). For
example, Fox News (2016) openly labeled Trump as overweight and restated Rubio’s claims about the size of his “small hands''. Moreover, Fox News reinforced hyper-masculine traits by portraying Trump as angry significantly more than Clinton. Therefore, the finding contradicts the expectation that GBD discrediting tactics would highly frame Clinton as angry (Gibbons, 2022;
Harmer et al., 2021; Heldman et al., 2018; Nee & De Maio, 2019). In addition, the significantly higher remarks about Trump’s sex scandals oppose to previous research arguing that Clinton was gauged to a greater extent for her husband’s sexual misconduct (Heldman et al., 2018).
Nevertheless, it shows how the 2016 campaign was plagued by constant counterattacks between the parties.
Considering the discussion of the results, the analysis poses several limitations. First, due to the uniqueness of the 2016 presidential election, the results of the study cannot be generalized to the coverage of other electoral campaigns. The reason for this is the different elements that contribute to the sensationalization of the race. The 2016 presidential election was
unconventional because it was constantly subject to scandals, drama, polarization, and the widespread disinformation spread by the emergent ‘alt-right’ media. It was also the first election in US history to have a woman and a man battle for the presidency. Second, the research does not study how Trump’s popularization of fake news was used as a campaign tool to attack the media. Third, this thesis studies a limited time period from the 2016 presidential elections. For instance, an analysis of the presidential primaries could provide insight into the employment of GBD at other levels. Fourth, this research is limited to the content of online news articles. An analysis of social media coverage, particularly on sites like Twitter, 4chan and 8chan, could further our understanding of how GBD is employed in digital spaces during electoral campaigns.
Finally, this thesis does not study GBD tactics like intimidation due to their limited occurrence in
mainstream media. However, this research did identify cases in which CNN and Fox News reported Tweets where intimidation tactics were present. For example, far-right Trump
supporters spread Tweets showing images of Clinton in a bulls-eye (i.e. the center of a shooting target).
For a thorough understanding of GBD, elements beyond the scope of this analysis should be considered. First, the effects of GBD on men politicians should be further studied, specially because the gender-news frames used to operationalize the concept mostly analyze women. By doing so, further research can explain how feminization delegitimizes the public image of men politicians. Second, by analyzing GBD through political scandal coverage, research can explain how Trump’s exceptionalism influenced campaign coverage (Heldman et al., 2018). For
instance, Trump was the subject of countless scandals and constantly attacked the mainstream media, therefore, employing social media as a tool to mobilize his supporters. Moreover, Trump directly highlighted gender stereotypes through his campaign and strategically disseminated this narrative through alt-right media outlets. Finally, studying GBD through reception can illustrate how it affects public perceptions, thus having an impact on democracy.
In sum, CNN and Fox News employed GBD strategies in their online news coverage of the 2016 US presidential election. The findings evidenced Fox News has a higher usage of GBD.
However, this is limited to the framing of Clinton as untrustworthy. This thesis argues that Fox News reflected the Crooked Hillary frame promoted by Trump’s campaign. A narrative also furthered by conservative outlets like Breitbart News. Exploitation of a partisan political landscape in disinformation efforts can explain this phenomenon. Furthermore, the analysis revealed that Clinton was targeted more by discrediting GBD strategies on Fox News, demonstrating gender bias intersects with disinformation.
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Appendix A: Codebook
Coders: (according to the # of coders code in sequence 1, 2,3…) Coder 1 = 1
Coder 2 = 2
Main variables studied:
V1: Independent variable
V1: gendered disinformation in online news articles V2: Dependent variable
V2: differences in the proportion of gendered disinformation per outlet Important dates and events:
September 26: First presidential debate October 9: Second presidential debate
October 19: Third and final presidential debate November 8: Election day8
Recording unit: the entirety of the collected articles. Please also include in the analysis direct quotes from other individuals. For example, if the article includes direct quotes from Donald Trump.
1. Title of the article: mention the main title of the article. Please exclude subtitles and make sure to exclude the date and place it was retrieved from in the title.
● For example: “Supreme Court draft decision leaked to energize Democrats' base, former Clinton adviser says”
2. Date of publication (day, month, year). Please use the European date format, all articles published with the American date system should be formatted.
● For example: 11-12-2021
3. URL: (the website where the article can be found, include full link) 4. Media outlet: mention the name of the media outlet coded as 1 and 2 1. Fox News = 1
2. CNN = 2
Type of article: which section of the newspaper website do the articles belong to coded as 1 and 2. Moreover, in the case that the article does not belong to one of these categories please indicate and classify it as “other”.
1. News article = 1 2. Opinion = 2
3. Other: (open ended question)
If the article has any additions or attachments they should be coded as follow: (Please avoid playing any news videos while coding. Moreover, if the article provides screen shots with text from social media, like Twitter, please code them as part of the overall article text.
1. Pictures or photos (general photographs of candidates, things, or events) =1 2. Screenshots (pictures or snapshots from social media sites, for example, Twitter or
Instagram screenshots) = 2
3. Video thumbnails (please code only the still image and avoid playing the video) =3
For the next questions, please only code the main picture or video thumbnail under the main title of the article. Moreover, please only code pictures or video thumbnails with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Please indicate who is in the picture or video thumbnail?
1. Hillary Clinton 2. Donald Trump 3. None
If the main presidential candidates are not in the picture or video please skip the next questions
Conflict frame: The conflict frame can be defined as pictures that show disagreement among individuals.
Does the picture or video thumbnail in the article reflect disagreement between parties or individuals?
1. Yes = 1 2. No = 0
Human interest frame: the human interest frame can be defined as pictures that give a "human face" to provoke or generate emotions. The human interest frame can be indicated by studying facial expressions. Please code only when the picture does not show the conflict frame.
(Trump and Clinton are measured separately in the survey)
Does the picture show an angry or frustrated facial expression? (For example a frown, eye brows together, aggressive staring, pressed lips).
1. Yes = 1 2. No = 0
Does the picture show a neutral expression? (For example a blank face, or no particular emotion shown)
1. Yes = 1 2. No = 0
Does the picture show a happy expression? (For example a smile, raised cheeks) 1. Yes = 1
2. No = 0
Relevant candidates: does the article explicitly mentions the 2016 main Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump? If so code as Yes (1) or No (0) as follows:
1. Yes = 1 2. No = 0
Relevant people: does the article explicitly mentions the 2016 main Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton? If so code as 0 or 1 as follow:
1. Yes = 1 2. No = 0
To study gendered disinformation the concept was broken down into two categories with
different themes. The categories are shaming and discrediting, therefore, the next sections will be divided into the two categories and themes according to gender frames found in news media.
Gendered frames for Hillary Clinton:
The next set of questions study the independent variable, gendered disinformation, and will be divided into two categories:
1. Category: Shaming
The first category is shaming which can be described as using tactics to delegitimize women by using moral double standards to make judgments about women's sexuality (e.g. sexual behavior and sexual relationships) and physical appearance (e.g. attractiveness and physicality).
If the described theme is present in the article, it should be coded as Yes or No.
Yes = 1 No = 0
Theme: For each theme code as Yes (1) or No (0) if the following themes are present within the articles.
Theme 1: disinformation about women’s physical appearance
Please indicate if the articles contain comments about Hillary Clinton’s physical appearance. The comments should make explicit reference to Hillary Clinton's physique or looks in an effort to shame her based on her image.
Please indicate yes or no if the article contains comments about Hillary Clinton's physical appearance
1. Does the article make reference to Hillary Clinton’s physicality or physical characteristics? (For example: face features, voice, or attractiveness).
2. Does the article makes reference to Hillary Clinton’s age or characterize her as “old”?
(Also consider synonyms, elder, elderly, mature, senior, or tired) (For example: does the article make reference to her wrinkles?)
3. Does the article make any remarks about Hillary Clinton’s sense of style (remarks about the choice of clothing, style, shoes, fashion, hair or makeup). Also code if the article compares Clinton to other women based on their appearance.
Theme: For each theme code as Yes (1) or No (0) if the following are present in paragraphs or sentences within the articles.
Theme 2: gender bias and disinformation about candidates' sexuality
Please indicate if the article contains comments about Hillary Clinton’s sexuality. For instance, when referring to Hillary Clinton’s sexuality there a comments in news media that make judgments based on her sexual behavior and personal relationships.
1. Does the article makes comments that sexualize Hillary Clinton? (For example, by characterizing Clinton as a sex object or seductress or making comments about her in sexual acts).
2. Does the article make reference to Bill Clinton’s sex scandals? (Please also consider references to sexual misconduct, infidelity or unfaithfulness) For example: comments about Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinski.
2. Category: Discrediting
The second category, discrediting, involves attacks against women’s credibility to claim that they do not fit the standards necessary to have high political positions (i.e. run for office or become president) (Sobieraj, 2018). Discrediting can be indicated through attacks that target women’s trustworthiness (e.g. honesty and reliability) and expression of emotions (e.g. reactivity and volatility).
If the theme is present in the article, it should be coded as Yes or No.
Yes = 1 No = 2
Theme 1: disinformation about women’s emotions
News media employs gendered stereotypes to frame how political candidates show emotions.
The coverage of emotions reaffirms that women are unfit for office due to their "high"
emotionality. The media often attributes traits to make judgments about candidates based on their display of emotions.
1. Do they describe Hillary Clinton as emotional (Also consider sensitive, volatile, reactive, temperamental/lack of temperament, unstable or hysterical)?
2. Do they describe Hillary Clinton as sad or fearful? (Please also consider characterizations like anxious, crying, not happy, or in tears)
3. Do they describe Hillary Clinton as hostile (Also consider angry, aggressive or tough)?
4. Do they describe Hillary Clinton as unemotional (Also consider cold, doesn’t cry, unlikeable)?
5. Do they describe Hillary Clinton as emotionally stable (Also consider composed, controlled, or temperate)?
Theme 2: disinformation about women’s level of competence: to discredit female politicians the media uses frames to target women’s politicians capabilities and competence. Gender stereotypes characterize women as weak and lacking the strength or capacity to lead.
1. Does the article makes comments about Hillary Clinton’s health state? (For example does the article make comments about any illness or medical issue)
2. Does the article make comments about Hillary Clinton’s strength? (For example does the article make comments about Clinton’s stamina or unfitness).
3. Does the article make comments about Hillary Clinton's level of knowledge? (For example do they comment about Clinton’s level of experience or qualifications)
Theme 3: disinformation about women’s level of trust: women in politics tend to be portrayed by the media as unreliable or untrustworthy to hold high positions of power.
Comments about Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness: The section should express distrust about Clinton’s character or should express distrust about Clinton’s reliability to be president.
1. Does the article makes comments that characterize Hillary Clinton as a liar? (Also code if they mention corrupt, crooked, non-factual comments, telling lies or
dishonest) Also code if they mention comments that characterize her as unreliable (If they mention untrustworthy, lack of trust, erratic, inconsistent)
To understand if men are women are subject to the same type of disinformation during electoral campaigns. This research will employ the same categories to study the framing of Donald Trump.
Physical appearance: disinformation about men’s physical appearance.
1. Does the article make reference to Donald Trump's physicality or physical characteristics? (For example: face features or attractiveness).
2. Does the article makes reference to Donald Trump's age or characterize him as “old”?
(Also consider synonyms, elder, elderly, mature, senior, or tired) (For example: does the article make reference to his wrinkles?)
3. Does the article make any remarks about Donald Trump’s sense of style (remarks about the choice of clothing, style, shoes, makeup, and hairstyle.) Also code if they make a comparison of Trump's appearance to other men in politics.
Theme 2: gender bias and disinformation about candidates' sexuality
Please indicate if the article contains comments about Donald Trump's sexuality. For instance, when referring to Donald Trump's sexuality there a comments in news media that make judgments based on his sexual behavior and personal relationships.
1. Does the article makes comments that sexualize Donald Trump? (For example, by characterizing Trump as a sex object ).
2. Does the article mention comments about Donald Trump’s sex scandals? (Please consider sexual misconduct or infidelities (groping, sexual assault). For example: the hollywood access tape).
Category 2: Discrediting
Theme 1: Disinformation about the expression of emotions
News media employs gendered stereotypes to frame how political candidates show emotions.
1. Do they describe Donald Trump as emotional (Also consider sensitive, volatile, temperamental/lack of temperament, reactive, or hysterical)?