Media Coverage of Elections
- Thomas Patterson, Out of Order
- Trends in media coverage of elections
- Positive to negative coverage
- Governing to game schema
- Descriptive to interpretive
- Politicians to journalists
- Policy issues to reportersí issues
- Voters distrust candidates, government, media
- Voters less informed
- Voters adopt media frames
- Reasons for change
- Candidate oriented campaigns
- Watergate and Vietnam
- Who is to blame?
- Complex interactions between them as well as broader historical
- Critique of Patterson
- View of media as autonomous actor?
- Content analysis versus causal connection between media coverage
and public opinion?
- Is it possible to account for these trends with alternative explanations?
- Negative, trivial coverage reflects reality?
- Shorten campaigns?
- Nine Sundays?
- Noticeable improvements in presidential elections since 1992?
- Feeding Frenzies, Larry Sabato
- Evolution of media coverage of politics from Lapdog (1941-1966)
to watchdog (1966-1974) to junkyard dog (1974 to present)
- Lapdog journalism (1941-1966): reporting that served and reinforced
the political establishment.
- Watchdog (1966-1974) scrutinized and checked the behavior of political
elites by undertaking independent investigations into statements
made by public officials.
- Junkyard dog (1974 to present).: reporting that is often and harsh,
aggressive intrusive, where feeding frenzies flourish and gossip
- Historical examples: FDR, JFK, LBJ, RMN, current
- Advances in media technology
- Competitive pressures
- Pack journalism
- WG, VN
- Women in the press corps?
- Cultural revolution
- Should some subjects about the candidates be off-bounds to the
press to cover?
- Is character something the media should help voters find out about?
- What types of character issues are legitimate and which arenít?
- John Zallerís analysis of media
coverage (download or read his book at http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/zaller/)
- Theory of campaign coverage needs to take into account the different
interests of voters, media, and candidates.
- Voters: "Donít waste my time"; "Tell me only what I need
- Candidates: Use journalists to "Get Our Story Out."
- Journalists: Maximize their "voice" in the news.
- Media coverage as an arms race, where candidate try to manage coverage
and reporters retaliate with negative coverage.
- Implications for Patterson, Sabato elections, and media coverage