• The Heady Mix of the 2016 Presidential Election: Twitter, Power, Politics, Gender, and Journalism

      Molyneux, Logan; Creech, Brian; Davis, Heath Fogg; Porpora, Douglas V. (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Murphy, Eloise, The Heady Mix of the 2016 Presidential Election: Twitter, Power, Politics, Gender, and Journalism, Doctor of Philosophy (Media and Communication), May 2020, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA The 2016 US presidential general election was unusual for a variety of reasons. Politically, the candidates were new and different in that Clinton was the first woman to be elected Presidential nominee by a major political party, and Trump was brash and the Republican Party’s dark horse who had never held a political office. Also, Trump used Twitter to amplify political speech that was abnormal for a presidential candidate. Journalistically, the coverage of the candidates was strange because, in general, non-alt-right media organizations amplified Trump’s atypical rhetoric by providing Trump with an unprecedented amount of free media coverage. Also, in general, media organizations did not acknowledge or tiptoed around the bizarre nature of Trump’s rhetoric. This extraordinary display of political and journalistic abnormalities revealed an angry electorate divided into political, economic, and sociocultural factions. The confluence of abnormal political speech, by Trump on Twitter, as well as the media’s obsessive unfiltered coverage of Trump, led to the question this dissertation asks: How did candidate representation and media coverage of candidate representation comport with and push against political and journalistic norms in the 2016 presidential election? This dissertation employs qualitative methodology and performs a critical discourse analysis through a feminist lens to examine how each candidate communicated their identity, performed power, and expressed gender on Twitter. Also, the dissertation analyzed how national newspapers and Sunday morning political talk shows recontextualized the candidates’ tweets, and whether journalistic norms of like objectivity, were demonstrated. The goals of this dissertation are to explain how Trump and Clinton represented themselves as candidates and how Trump used Twitter as his foot soldier to violate political norms. Also, this research demonstrates that the media enabled, normalized, and legitimized Trump’s rhetoric by engaging in tacit co-conspiratorial agenda-setting with Trump, by binding and blinding themselves to Trump’s rhetoric, revealing that the press relinquished their role as a watchdog of government corruption and overreach. KEYWORDS: Political communication, Journalistic norms, Twitter, 2016 Presidential election, Gender