In this paper, we analysed Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the media starting from her first appointment at a US First Lady to her being the Democratic nominee for the US presidential elections in 2016. Thus, we analysed academic literature demonstrating Clinton’s problems with the media bias, and then added our own discourse analysis of articles on Clinton and feminism in two main national newspapers that have consistently demonstrated the power of setting the agenda and forming public opinion in the U.S. – The Washington Post and The New York Times. Discourse analysis has been used to analyse 20 selected articles that discussed Clinton’s feminist views in a period from September 2015 until September 2016, which was also a campaign period for 2016 U.S. elections. The findings add to the current research on the topic and show that the media undermined liberal feminism and its goals to undermine Hillary Clinton, whereas in the past Hillary was a subject of media criticism because of her refusal to fit into expected roles and be a supportive wife only. The discourse of criticism of Hillary Clinton has changed over time but every time with the same results, undermining the image and career advancement.


Hillary Clinton, Expected Roles, U.S. Elections, Feminism, Discourse Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Martina Topić holds a PhD in Sociology (University of Zagreb, 2013), Postgraduate diploma in Media and Globalization (City University London, 2007), Master’s degree in Journalism (University of Zagreb, 2003) and Master’s degree in Political science (University of Zagreb, 2003). She has worked as a journalist for print media in Croatia, Slovenia and Italy (2003-2009), research fellow at the University of Zagreb (2007-2013), and as a researcher on two large international projects: UNESCO Media Development Indicators (2007-2008) and FP7 Identities and Modernities in Europe (2009-2012). She is currently a Lecturer in Public Relations at the Leeds Beckett University where she is teaching Research Methods at several postgraduate programmes; Communication, Ethics and Regulation; Public Relations, PR Skills; Media Futures, Reporting 2 (Features), and Business Journalism. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: martinahr@gmail.com.

Etajha Gilmer is a recent MA graduate (MA in Public Relations and Strategic Communication) of the Leeds Beckett University, currently applying for a PhD in Media studies. Etajha has completed her MA dissertation on Hillary Clinton's PR and Media relations during 2016 Presidential campaign. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ecgilmer@gmail.com.


We would like to thank Dr Audra Diers Lawson for her comments on the earlier draft of this paper.

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