Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Richard K. Popp

Committee Members

Elana H. Levine, David S. Allen


Baby Boomer, Image and Representation, Masculinity, News, Presidents, United States


Images and stories about US presidents’ family lives, private vacations and athletic identities are constants in the political news media landscape. These news representations texture and shape how the presidents are envisioned in popular imagination as powerful political figures and embodiments of contemporary masculinities. This study explicates US news media representations of President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama in select mainstream political news publications from the 1990s to the 2000s. This study further considers how the cultural forces of heteronormativity, patriarchy, Baby Boomer masculinity, class, race and taste influenced popular presidential images. Much of the news discourse regarding presidents as private people, as men of family and leisure and taste, sought to create piecemeal mosaics of powerful men. But this genre of political storytelling also ruminated on larger cultural concerns about masculinity, authenticity, identity and persona within political journalism and political culture at large.