ISSN: 1550-7521

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Rhetorical Media Framing of Two First Lady Political Candidates across Cultures

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This study examines the rhetoric used to frame news coverage of two first lady candidates from Uganda and the United States in the final weeks of their first political campaigns for legislative office, while their spouses were still serving as president. It assesses news coverage in two distinct political cultures with different forms of democracy in The Daily Monitor and The New Vision of Uganda, as well as New York’s Daily News and The New York Times of the United States. Results show that newspapers emphasized gender-specific rhetoric to frame Janet Museveni and Hillary Clinton during their campaigns. The U.S. newspapers covered Clinton’s campaign speeches and platform on international peace initiatives and national security, yet the Ugandan press did not highlight Museveni’s statements on the northern war and peace initiatives. These newspapers underscored their first lady familial duties, and framed them as emotionally weak and unfit to serve beyond political spousal roles.

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