News coverage of political campaigns is very important to the political campaign process. Some voters pay little attention to debates or other sources of information about the candidates and their policies. The news is one important source of this information. Newspapers can also supplement and reinforce the information possessed by voters who do attend to campaign messages. This study content analyzed news coverage of the 2008 general election presidential campaign (New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today). Horse race coverage was most common topic (45%), followed by themes about character (32%), and policy (23%). The tone of newspaper coverage was more positive (51%) than negative (39%; 9% of themes reported the candidates‘ defenses).
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Benoit, William L.; Goode, Jayne R.; and Glantz, Mark
"Newspaper Coverage of the 2008 General Election Presidential Campaigns,"
Speaker & Gavel: Vol. 50
, Article 2.
Available at: http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/speaker-gavel/vol50/iss1/2