Presidential Campaign Coverage

Archive Report

Impact of News Media on Elections

Criticism of Early Primaries as Media Events

The press has been criticized for its presidential campaign coverage since the time of George Washington. This year is no exception. Indeed, the scrutiny of the news media—both broadcast and print—may be only slightly less intense than their scrutiny of the 1976 campaign. Many Americans see newspapers, magazines, radio and especially television as the primary power brokers in politics. It is the media, critics assert, that decide which candidates are to be taken seriously, how much and what kind of attention they receive, how their stands on the issues are publicized and what the early caucuses and primaries mean. The medium, as communications guru Marshall McLuhan proclaimed, is the message.

The message that seems ...

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