2011 study from George Mason University on television news coverage of presidential candidates during primary season.
by John Wihbey | December 13, 2011 |
The number of evening network news stories about the presidential nominating contests has generally declined in recent decades, according to a paper by scholars at George Mason University. The 2008 election -- which for a variety of reasons generated massive media attention -- stands as an exception to this trend. But whether or not 2008 is a sign of renewed interest by the television networks, or just an anomaly, remains to be seen during the 2012 election cycle, the researchers note.
That paper from George Mason, published in the book The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012, ed. William Mayer, “How Television Covers the Presidential Nomination Process,” examines patterns in both the quantitative and qualitative data relating to the political coverage of the major broadcast news organizations, ABC, NBC and CBS. (The paper here is posted with permission of the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield; this material is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. Please contact the publisher for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.)
The study’s findings include:
The study’s authors note that the large field of Republican candidates in 2012 will have to compete “all the more aggressively for limited mainstream media coverage” and non-frontrunner candidates face the now well-established trend of “media triage to allocate air time.” Indeed, historical data suggest that television news outlets seem “unable to focus on more than two or three candidates at a time.”
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