How Newspapers Framed the Race
In print, the impact of the debates on the horse race was still a dominant theme, but regional papers were more likely to simply report what the candidates said than national papers were, and other themes got more attention than they did on television.
Who Newspaper Stories Impacted
The insider horse race focus of the debate coverage in 2004 is evident in who the stories talked about being impacted. Only about a quarter of newspaper stories focused on things that would directly affect citizens in the debates, such as policy positions.
Who Was Covered in Newspapers
Most of the newspaper stories of the presidential debates focused on both candidates.
Tone of Newspaper Coverage of Kerry and Bush
Nearly seven out of ten newspaper stories about Bush’s debate performance were negative, compared with three out of ten about Kerry. This was similar to what people saw on television.
Dominant Frame in Candidate-Focused Newspaper Stories
Newspapers framed stories that focused on Bush in the debates on how they affected his standing in the horse race. Stories about Kerry were just as likely, in contrast, to be straight forward news accounts of what was said.
The End of “Network News”
What happened this summer, and particularly last week, is likely to be recalled as the end of the era of network news. At the very least, mark this as the moment when the networks abdicated their authority with the American public.
Positive and Negative Themes by Candidate
The press coverage leading up to the conventions in 2004 tended to focus on Bush, both positive and negative character themes. There was little about comparatively little about John Kerry and most of it tended to be negative.
Character and the Campaign
If presidential campaigns are about character and control of message, neither candidate has had much success so far, a new PEJ study finds.
Character Themes and Associations with the Candidates
The character themes embedded in the coverage of the candidates in the spring leading up to the conventions tended to emphasize negative attributes of George Bush and John Kerry.
Appearance of Character Themes and Rebuttals
For both Sen. Kerry and President Bush, rebuttals of the dominant themes of the campaign were not frequent. The charge of Kerry being liberal received the most rebuttals.