Posted by: christinelsmith | July 13, 2009

Newsweek: Barack Obama vs Sarah Palin

Barack Obama’s Newsweek Cover:

Sarah Palin’s Newsweek Cover:

Newsweek exhibits a gender bias and a partisan bias, which is apparent through the positive portrayal of Barack Obama and through the negative portrayal of Sarah Palin.

There were two versions of Barack Obama’s Newsweek cover. The cover on the left was the one that was supposed to be published. The cover on the right was the one that was actually published. The photograph on the left was completely untouched while the photograph on the right was completely retouched. Newsweek retouched Barack Obama’s face from top to bottom. They fixed all of his flaws. The magazine also added a ray of light shining down on Barack Obama’s face, which was supposed to symbolize a halo. The words on Barack Obama’s Newsweek cover were neutral. There were no negative words or positive words.

In opposition, there was only one version of Sarah Palin’s Newsweek cover. The photograph was substantially magnified and completely untouched. They focused on all of her flaws. The words on Sarah Palin’s Newsweek cover were negative.

The Newsweek magazine covers are similar to the US Weekly magazine covers that were viewed and discussed during class. Although I don’t think the differences between Barack Obama’s Newsweek cover and Sarah Palin’s Newsweek cover are that significant or that substantial, they definitely show a gender bias and/or a partisan bias, something we’ve been discussing frequently during lecture.



  1. Nice comparison…I definitely remember getting a fright when I first saw that Sarah Palin cover!

    Here’s the current Time cover with Sarah Palin, seems much nicer than the covers she had when campaigning:,16641,20090720,00.html

  2. Interesting! It seems that photo-bias is a big topic among journalists in the overall debate about media bias. I just came across this interesting little blurb about a McCain headline photo:

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