Master of Arts (MA)
Journalism and Media Studies
First Committee Member
Number of Pages
The purpose of this study is to examine George W. Bush's performance as President of the United States through mediated visual messages. In this paper performance will be conceptualized using a content analysis method. This paper presents the notion that presidential performance and the job of being president are linked. The study is meant to watch President Bush and document his appearances as seen through mediated images. The New York Times' front pages from George W. Bush's first inauguration in January 2001 up to his re-election and second oath of office in 2005 were analyzed for six categories of visual depictions in the areas of speech making, commander-in-chief, official paperwork, domestic diplomacy, foreign diplomacy, and domestic luminance. These elements help define presidential performance visually. The New York Times newspaper was chosen for this study because it is considered the nation's paper of record. Along with national circulation, the New York Times also circulates throughout the world and has reporters and photographers on hand to visually document the President's activities and the persona he portrays through those official activities. As a construct, performance may be defined in many ways, but in this paper it is defined as the things one does while in public office that help define the nature of that public office as articulated in Article II, Sections 2 and 3 of the United States Constitution; It was observed in this study that images of Present Bush were most often located above the fold of the newspaper and in the middle of the page. President Bush was making speeches in 28% of images collected and was shown as Commander-in-Chief in 9.3% of images. Domestic Luminance is the variable with the most frequency having a total of 47.6% of the images collected and Official Paperwork was the least frequent with only five images total. Public Diplomacy comprised 13.2% of images collected and 22% of the images collected were of Foreign Diplomacy; This study attempts to understand Bush's performance as president through pictorial representation of significant foreign and domestic events that occurred during his first term in office. This paper also exhibits the man as president through his various day-to-day activities, showing the human element of Bush as a leader. As the pictorial artifacts of the Bush presidency are analyzed, questions concerning what the image might say about the president's performance are addressed.
Bush; Construct; George; Performance; Residential; Visual
Journalism; Mass media
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Stetzenbach, Kristen Allen, "The presidential performance of George W. Bush as a visual construct" (2006). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2073.