Third Party & Independents Archives

As Economy Improves, Bush's Economic Policy Ignored; Kerry Absent from Media in Wake of Reagan's Death

New York - June 14, 2004. Coverage of the state of the economy, education, healthcare and domestic security have been declining in the U.S. TV evening news since January. The latest report from Media Tenor, an independent media analysis institute, shows that the big three networks have neglected topics that are crucial influences on voters’ decisions in national elections.

At the beginning of the year, Bush's economic policies overshadowed all other issues in news coverage. However, since April, the networks have practically abandoned coverage of his economic policy - even as the economy and labor market have shown signs of significant improvement.

ABC focused heavily on the state of the economy in its news coverage at the beginning of the year, and in January, issues such as domestic security, healthcare and education still played a role on World News Tonight, albeit a small one. Since April, however, these four issues have practically vanished from news coverage. The same trend also occurred at the other two networks, and all four issues have ceased to be consistently presented since April. As a consequence, the public does not have a clear picture of either of the candidates' stances on these issues.

For the first time in more than five weeks, George W. Bush received more positive (8.4%) than negative (7.6%) news coverage*. John Kerry, by contrast, has faced a dearth of positive news coverage since the second week of June. Kerry's campaign paused in the week following Reagan's death, and in that time the evening news didn't feature a single direct quote from him. When he was mentioned 13.3% of Kerry's coverage was negative.

*The remaining share of coverage corresponds to neutral or ambivalent coverage.

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Posted by Isadora Badi at June 15, 2004 11:07 AM