My Eyes Adored You: A Content Analysis of Newsmagazine Cover Images in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Campaign

Document Type


Publication Date

October 2013


This content analysis investigated newsmagazine cover photos of US 2008 presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama (n = 53) to assess whether or not quantitative distinctions in visual candidate coverage might have provided fodder for public and practitioner concerns of biased media treatment toward Obama. Although there was no evidence of systematic bias with regard to most of these elements (e.g., position, size and angle), the newsmagazines displayed significantly more cover photos of Barack Obama (n = 39) than of John McCain (n = 14). Both candidates' photos portrayed them in a generally positive way, but Obama was portrayed significantly more positively (e.g., dignified, presidential) (M = 1.48 on a scale of -2 to +2) than McCain (M = .86). Implications support the Gallup organization's call (Morales, 2012a) urging media practitioners to "do more to earn the trust of Americans"

Publication Title

Ohio Communication Journal



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