BOOK REVIEW: The Obamas and mass media: race, gender, religion, and politics

Posted: May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

BOOK REVIEW: The Obamas and mass media: race, gender, religion, and politics

by Mia Moody-Ramirez and Jannette L. Dates. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.111p bibl index ISBN 9781137404923 cloth, $67.50

This is a brief case study of how minorities (largely black) have been and are covered in an American mass media dominated by white gatekeepers of news.  Moody-Ramirez (journalism, Baylor Univ.) and Dates  (emer., Howard Univ. School of Journalism) document how coverage of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, has fit into stereotypical images of African Americans presented in US mass media coverage throughout history.  They maintain that images of blacks presented in American media have largely been framed by a dominating white culture, which in turn ignited African American resistance.  Their guiding theory is based on Antonio Gramsci’s concept of ideological hegemony in which dominant classes dominate subordinate groups.

The authors begin with chapters outlining how American mass media white gatekeepers have represented blacks in print and electronic news coverage and advertising.  Coverage in contemporary social media and the Internet is next placed within this historic context.  In particular, the authors devoted a chapter employing feminist theory to focus on how American mass media have framed and stereotyped women.

Perhaps the strongest part of the book is the authors’ treatment of hate speech as presented in contemporary social media, websites, and videos.  Examination of Facebook representations of the Obamas is particularly revealing.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.


–R. E. Dewhirst, Northwest Missouri State University

doi: 10.5860/CHOICE.185450CHOICE November 2014 vol. 52 no. 03

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