Politics

Fear And The Undecided Voter

"For all the policy differences it revealed, the presidential debate last week also highlighted what has become a predominant theme in this presidential campaign: fear," the New York Times reports. "President Bush implied that Senator John Kerry's 'mixed message' on Iraq would only encourage the enemy. Mr. Kerry warned that Mr. Bush's 'certainty' could needlessly extend a bloody occupation.

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Tuning in to the Void

The Wisconsin Advertising Project estimates that "many voters - nearly 60 percent - have not been exposed to any of the 530,000 campaign ads aired so far in the most expensive presidential campaign ever." A companion project researching local TV news "found only 44 percent of local stations offer[ed] any campaign coverage at all in the 2002 elections.

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The John Kerry Attack Matrix

In some respects, the real presidential debate will take place in cyberspace, reports Wired magazine. "The Bush campaign has launched a massive rapid-response effort called Debate Facts to rebut challenger John Kerry's assertions during the debates," writes Louise Witt. "The campaign will provide a live feed to about 5,000 conservative blogs that subscribe to its news alerts.

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Poll Dance

After MoveOn.org accused the Gallup polling firm of using a survey methodology that stacks the deck in favor of Republicans, CNN (which uses Gallup) responded with a news segment that "implicitly confirmed a criticism of itself that was leveled in the MoveOn ad: the charge that CNN winds up 'acting as unquestioning promotional partners [with Gallup], rather than as critical journalists.'" Gallup's polls have shown a substantial lead for Bush, but other recent

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Gearing Up for the Post-Debate Debate

"If 2000 was any indication," writes Joshua Micah Marshall, the winner of this week's presidential campaign debate "won't be determined during the 90 minute encounter itself but during the spin war that will follow it. And with the advantage the Republicans have on the cable nets, talk radio and chat TV shows, the odds are stacked in their favor." In 2000, the initial public reactions to the first Bush/Gore debate had Gore coming out on top. "It was only after several days of pundit churn that Bush became the winner," Marshall notes.

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Is There an Echo in Here?

"The Kerry campaign has enlisted congressional Democrats to play down expectations of the challenger's performance in the first presidential debate this Thursday, and then flood the airwaves with jubilant analysis that he has won it." Kerry campaign officials asked press secretaries of Democratic members of Congress "to schedule their bosses on television and

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Telling the Media to MoveOn

U.S. media "gives inordinate attention to fly-by-night groups with little evidence of real support. Why? Because these groups' sensational claims make for entertaining and easily produced news stories. The result is that a Swift Boats Veterans for Truth has greater impact on the national debate than long-established activist organizations," writes the Center for Media and Democracy's Diane Farsetta.

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