Study: The media treated Palin differently from Biden in 2008

The high level of interest in her candidacy was reflected in the volume of coverage that went her way. The authors found that the average number of stories a day in overall coverage was 36 for Palin, compared with 14.9 for Biden. On television, Palin was the subject of 8.8 stories a day compared with 4.6 for Biden; in newspapers, it was 15 compared with 8.2 stories a day, and on political blogs, 14.2 compared with 3.2 stories a day.

In that coverage, the authors found evidence of gender stereotypes, with stories mentioning her family, physical appearance and positions on social issues; this trend was more pronounced on television. However, on issues that might be considered “women’s issues,” such as health care or education, Biden received more coverage.

“Each of these differences could have had important influences on public opinion formation and the public’s voting decisions in this particular race,” the authors write. “If future research finds similar differences in coverage in other races, the implications could significantly affect the election process, particularly for female candidates.”