Obamacare, the News Media, and the Politics of 21st-Century Presidential Communication

Jennifer Hopper


Studies of presidential framing and the media lead to contrary expectations of whether the president would be able to reframe a pejorative name for a major legislative achievement and alter its news coverage. The case of President Obama and the use of the term “Obamacare” to refer to the Affordable Care Act requires rethinking what we know about presidential communication strategies and contemporary news norms. Obama’s embrace of the Obamacare moniker spread among supporters and led to its appearance with more positive/neutral depictions of the policy in the media. The term also has become more prominent in the news over time, raising questions about loosening standards of news objectivity and the future of this contested term.


presidency, news media, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, presidential communication

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