A report was issued by the Project for Excellence in Journalism along with the Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard regarding campaign coverage for the 2008 presidential campaign. That report shows that the media is failing to address what consumers of political news want addressed.
This is from the www.journalism.org story on the report:
"In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%) or the candidates’ ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found."
The report noted that this is at odds with what the public says it wants from political news reporting:
"All of these findings seem to be at sharp variance with what the public says it wants from campaign reporting. A new poll by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted for this report finds that about eight-in-ten of Americans say they want more coverage of the candidates’ stances on issues, and majorities want more on the record and personal background, and backing of the candidates, more about lesser-known candidates and more about debates."
Ever wonder why lesser known candidates can't develop any momentum? Here's one reason:
"Just five candidates have been the focus of more than half of all the coverage. Hillary Clinton received the most (17% of stories), though she can thank the overwhelming and largely negative attention of conservative talk radio hosts for much of the edge in total volume. Barack Obama was next (14%), with Republicans Giuliani, McCain, and Romney measurably behind (9% and 7% and 5% respectively). As for the rest of the pack, Elizabeth Edwards, a candidate spouse, received more attention than 10 of them, and nearly as much as her husband."
So here it is, another important election, and the media wants to talk about fundraising and polls as opposed to issues and positions. It's just too bad that the public can't sue journalists for malpractice.