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Presidential Communication About Marginalized Groups: Applying a New Analytic Framework in the Context of the LGBT Community

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Journal of Communication

Published online on


Scholars have long observed that presidential communication about a marginalized group can help shape that group's reality. Yet most analyses of such communication focus on a relatively small number of texts, making it difficult to identify important changes over time and analyze factors that might explain those changes. The present study proposes an analytic framework that specifies 4 measurable parameters of presidential communication about marginalized groups, as well as 4 explanatory factors. We use this framework to analyze the census of presidents' formal communications about the LGBT community. Results highlight presidents' limited communicative engagement with the LGBT community and the roles that political party, rhetorical context, public opinion, and sociocultural touchstones play in explaining presidential communication about this important group.