Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Post-print

Publication Date

2-2017

Keywords

communication, politics, stigma, obesity, weight, news media, online news, political communication

Abstract

News media use metaphors to describe politics (Landau & Keefer, 2014) and obesity (Barry,Brescoll, Brownell, & Schlesinger, 2009). Weight-based stigma is prevalent in U.S. news media (Heuer,McClure, & Puhl, 2011). Media coverage of politicians’ body size may contain metaphors that stigmatizeweight. Metaphors reflect and shape how people think about important issues like politics or obesity(Landau, Sullivan, & Greenberg, 2009; Landau, Meier, & Keefer, 2010; Landau & Keefer, 2014).
Objective – This study uses stigma communication theory (Smith, 2007) to examine stigmatizing metaphors used in media coverage of a United States politician, and candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Republican.
Method. – We coded n = 240 articles, from January 2011 to December 2014, that referenced Christie’s weight. Considering both the articles and the comments in response to them, we identified n = 246weight references that utilized metaphors and coded these using categories derived from the stigma communication theory framework.
Results. – Our coding of these weight references, from journalists and comments posted by the public,demonstrated that metaphors accomplish all four functions of stigma communication: they mark, label,assign personal responsibility, and link to peril the stigmatized person.
Conclusion. – Our findings demonstrate not only that news media use metaphors to describe a politician’s weight, but also show how these metaphors — alone and together — function to constitute stigma communication messages. These messages can affect public opinions toward politics and obesity.

Publication Title

European Review of Applied Psychology

DOI of Published Version

10.1016/j.erap.2016.12.007

Pages

34

Format

application/pdf

Publisher

Elsevier

Comments

This is the post-print author(s) manuscript of a work that was published in European Review of Applied Psychology DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.erap.2016.12.007. This item is posted with permission.

Available for download on Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Share

COinS