Lear study: More political ads than coverage


In contrast to the deluge of political advertising, a study from USC
Annenberg School's Norman Lear Center and its department of political science
found few examples of comprehensive political stories.

Moreover, the Lear Center Local News Archive said, most of the political news
local TV stations do run is far more likely to be about campaign strategies or
the "horse-race" aspects of the campaign than about campaign issues.

Study authors said they analyzed 4,850 half-hour local newscasts in the 50
largest markets and barely one in three -- 37 percent -- carried any campaign
coverage, while nearly three-quarters carried at least one political ad, and
more likely two.

"Many station managers feel that putting political news on their airwaves
would be ratings poison for their news broadcasts," said Martin Kaplan,
associate dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and director of the
Norman Lear Center. "It looks like that fear doesn't apply to airing paid
political ads during those same shows."

And while the political ads often generate their own news, few local newscast
stories critiqued them, according to the study.

The study found that the most attention was paid to gubernatorial races,
followed by U.S. Senate races, with little attention paid to House of
Representatives races.