Friday, November 30, 2007

Media does a poor job of covering most candidates

One of the things I have stressed on this blog is that the media is giving more time to the upper tier candidates in publicity and debates. It's up to us to help get his name out there. This gentleman took the liberty to write a letter to the editor.

To the Editor:

Mike Gravel, Joe Biden, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Chris Dodd. Hopefully you will recognize these names as presidential candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties, but do you know where they stand on the issues? Likely you don't if you depend on mass media to help you get to know the candidates.

A recent study by the Project for Journalism Excellence, associated with the Pew Research Centers, indicates that more than 50 percent of media coverage has focused on just five presidential candidates: Clinton, Obama, Giuliani, McCain, and Romney.

The study reviewed more than 1,700 campaign stories run from January to May 2007. During that time fewer than a dozen stories focused on Republican candidates Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. The lower tier Democrats fared a little bit better. There were a total of 75 stories about Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Biden.

Commercial TV network news programs like NBC Nightly News were highlighted as the worst outlets for covering second tier candidates. Those programs did not focus on second tier candidates at all, except for a couple of occasions. PBS was the only network that covered second tier candidates to any degree. Anyone watching the televised debates has seen that these forums have followed a similar pattern - giving most of their airtime to the front runners.

How does this impact presidential politics? Fundraising and poll numbers begets more
media coverage. More media coverage begets higher poll numbers and greater fundraising. It's
a cycle that can make a real difference in the outcome of an election and it is a cycle that is ifficult for second tier candidates to break regardless of how well qualified they may be to become the next president. But, it shouldn't be up to the candidates to break the media part
of this cycle. After all, isn't fairness one of the basic tenants of journalism? Each media outlet should be continually evaluating its coverage to ensure it is providing fair and equal coverage to
all candidates to help voters make well educated voting decisions based on how well qualified a candidate is, not on how much money they can raise.Until that happens, do your own research.
Examine candidates' positions on issues.

Determine, based on your own values and criteria, which candidate should become the
next president of the United States. Don't let the media do it.


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