October 31, 2007

We’re tired of campaign news, but we still don’t know where the candidates stand

Posted in Media, Politics at 12:58 pm by The Lizard Queen

I came across this study via Gristmill; it compares media coverage of individual candidates as well as of 2008 primary campaigns in general.  I found the following passage particularly disheartening:

In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%) or the candidates’ ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found.

To reiterate: the politics of the season are receiving more than four times the coverage of where the candidates actually stand.  But wait, there’s more:

The press’ focus on fundraising, tactics and polling is even more evident if one looks at how stories were framed rather than the topic of the story. Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates. Those numbers, incidentally, match almost exactly the campaign-centric orientation of coverage found on the eve of the primaries eight years ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, no?


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