Monthly Archives: October 2008

Missing from the ‘Rat’ Story

Today’s Star-Ledger and Trenton Times include a story about a court case involving a giant inflatable rat that labor unions use in protests against anti-union activities The article notes that a union official was issued a summons and fined for using the rat at a protest in Lawrence Township, which has a law banning the use of inflatable signs. A state appellate court upheld the decision and the case now has been appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The news story correctly identifies the union official as Wayne DeAngelo, assistant business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 269 in Lawrence Township. But no where does it mention that DeAngelo is a state Assemblyman.

While his role as an elected official may no bearing on this particular story, it would have been a nice piece of information to include in the article, especially in the Trenton Times version since DeAngelo’s Legislative District is in the heart of the newspaper’s circulation area.

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The Last Time A Woman Debated for VP

The last and only time a man and woman faced each other in a vice-presidential debate was 1984 when Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic candidate and George H. W. Bush the Republican. Earlier this year while I was working on a study of media coverage of female politicians in New Jersey, I came across an interesting paper on that 1984 debate.

The author, Patricia Sullivan, found that Bush repeatedly used sports metaphors throughout the debate, framing the discourse in masculine terms that suggested Ferraro was out of place – a frame that carried over into many of the news reports on the event. “Ferraro seemed like an intruder on the debate stage,” Sullivan wrote.

If you’re interested in reading more, her paper, The 1984 Vice-Presidential Debate: A Case Study of Female and Male Framing in Political Campaigns, was in the Communication Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 4, Fall 1989, pages 329-343.