02 November 2007

Giddyup!

via Rhetorica

The Invisible Primary—Invisible No Longer: A First Look at Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign

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.

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.

All of these findings seem to be at sharp variance with what the public says it wants from campaign reporting. A new poll by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted for this report finds that about eight-in-ten of Americans say they want more coverage of the candidates’ stances on issues, and majorities want more on the record and personal background, and backing of the candidates, more about lesser-known candidates and more about debates.[1]

Even Harvard Finds The Media Biased
The study also discovered that newspaper stories "tended to be focused more on political matters and less on issues and ideas than the media overall. In all, 71% of newspaper stories concentrated on the 'game,' compared with 63% overall."
Party Tone by Media
Positive:

DemocratsRepublicans
Newspapers58.8%26.4%
CNN27.7%13.5%
FNC24.2%32.0%
PBS8.3%0.0%
All Media34.8%26.2%

Neutral:

DemocratsRepublicans
Newspapers30.0%34.0%
CNN49.1%45.9%
FNC38.9%46.7%
PBS66.7%77.8%
All Media38.7%39.1%

Negative:

DemocratsRepublicans
Newspapers11.3%39.6%
CNN23.2%40.5%
FNC36.8%21.3%
PBS25.0%22.2%
All Media26.5%34.8%

Related:
The list: Journalists who wrote political checks

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