The Committee of Concerned Journalists, a consortium of reporters, editors, producers, publishers, owners and academics, has surveyed its own membership about the quality of election campaign coverage this year, and the results aren't pretty. Nearly three quarters of respondents gave the press a C, D or F grade, and only 3% gave an A. By large majorities they felt the news media has become sidetracked by trivial issues, has been too reactive and has focused too much on campaign strategy rather than substance.
Regretting Al Gore's quick concession in 2000, "Democrats are already laying the public relations groundwork [for a protracted election challenge] by pointing to every possible voting irregularity before the Nov. 2 election and accusing Republicans of wrongdoing." The Kerry campaign will have "six so-called 'SWAT teams' of lawyers and political operatives ...
How the Right Wing is Turning America Into a One-party State
by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber
U.S. publisher: Tarcher/Penguin
Bookstore price: $11.95 U.S.
"Hardly a day goes by without someone sending me a link to a video, Flash animation, or MP3 file related to the U.S. political campaign," obsserves Steve Yelvington. "It's the first time that multimedia files have been so thoroughly woven through the national political conversation. JibJab's hilarious animations, "This Land" and "Good to Be in D.C.," have been widely covered, but there's much more.
Australia's October 9 national election might sound familiar to Americans -- the two major party candidates are running neck and neck, Iraq is a major issue, and U.S. political consultants are shaping the campaigns. "Campaign operatives from across the spectrum of Australian politics head to Washington every year to learn how to manage budgets, articulate messages, and develop poll-driven communication strategies.
Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos weblog has written an insightful article about how bloggers helped turn the perception of first election debate in favor of John Kerry. "Bloggers, thinktanks, the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) all worked to fact-check Bush and point out his bizarre behaviour," he writes. "The flow of information flowed two ways, as the party establishment and allied organisations worked hand-in-hand with the blogs to gather ammunition, then blast it out to the world.
"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.
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.