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November 13 -1 - Nature of Election Coverage Free Media o...

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November 13, 2009 Nature of Election Coverage Free Media o Media coverage presented in public news programs that is ‘freely’ available to political candidates in their pursuit of public office o Campaign coverage focuses on horserace coverage The media’s focus on the race between two candidates o Media’s issue emphasis is different from the candidates Media prefer clear-cut issues Issues on which candidates take distinctive positions in their ads and speeches Candidates prefer diffuse issues Issues about which a candidate can make broad appeals to shore up support instead of possibly alienating voters by taking a potentially divisive stand o Horserace coverage affects who gets covered Frontrunners and dark horses get most coverage Paid Media o The use of television or other paid advertising by candidates o The substance of political advertisements Early studies found more issue content in ads than on the evening network news There has been no systematic decrease in issue content over time
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