Group: TV news Dwells on 'Horse Race'

Publish date:
Updated on

The network newscasts cover the horse races of politics much more than the issues, and the highest-profile candidates got a lot more mentions than the long-shots. Is that news? Nonetheless, that was essentially the conclusion of a new study that found that the vast majority of presidential primary stories on the broadcast-network nightly newscasts were about strategy and only a fraction dealt mainly with issues. That content analysis was conducted by media critic Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

FAIR said that of the 385 stories about the primaries that aired between Dec. 26 and Super Duper Tuesday (Feb. 5), the vast majority—255—were primarily about analysis and strategy, with only 19 stories, or about 5%, primarily about issues. In addition, the analysis concluded that even when issues like, say, the Iraq War, were mentioned, it was only in passing and usually related to how the candidates were polling on the issue.