How does beauty shape political television news? The effect of Israeli politicians’ facial attractiveness on the tone of their news coverage

Dana Markowitz-Elfassi, Yariv Tsfati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Media coverage plays an important role in the political career of politicians. The news media attention that politicians receive depends not only on political and socio-demographic variables, but also on their communication skills and personal characteristics such as physical appearance. This study explores the effect of facial attractiveness on the tone of the televised news coverage of Israeli parliament members. Results demonstrate a positive association between facial attractiveness and the overall coverage. In addition, each unit increase on the attractiveness scale was associated with an increase of 34 percent in the expected number of favorable appearances on TV news, but this association was slightly above the accepted 0.05 criterion for hypothesis testing. There was no significant effect of facial attractiveness on unfavorable or neutral coverage. These findings are interpreted. Implications for journalistic practices, political consultants, and access to the public sphere are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1414
Number of pages18
JournalJournalism
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.

Keywords

  • Facial attractiveness
  • news coverage
  • politicians
  • quantitative content analysis
  • ‘what is beautiful is good’ stereotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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