Date of Graduation

Spring 2014

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Dudash

Keywords

Mitt Romney, narrative paradigm, welfare queen, 47% speech, Walter Fisher

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

Mitt Romney's "47%” speech drew substantive media criticism for its unabashed description of those individuals who do not pay income tax as "entitled,” and guaranteed to vote for Barack Obama. The study argues that the speech, which, when released, had a meaningful impact on polls in swing states and likely voters, appeals to the narrative of the welfare queen, a longstanding social narrative about entitlement spending. By using Walter Fisher's (1984) Narrative Paradigm as a lens of critical analysis, I argue that Romney's appeal to a particular narrative was a persuasive decision based on his limited audience. By appealing to the welfare queen narrative, however, Romney furthers an existing stereotype that is ultimately damaging for both future policy actions, and individuals on entitlement spending.

Copyright

© Calvin Richard Coker

Campus Only

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