How Voters Construct Images of Political Candidates: The Role of Political Advertising and Televised News

A paper by Montague Kern, spring 1992 fellow, and Marion Just, professor at Wellesley College, investigates the role of news and advertising in influencing public discourse about campaign issues, and in turn, candidates. The extent to which public discourse during…

Shadowboxing with Stereotypes: The Press, The Public, and the Candidates’ Wives

A paper by Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, fall 1992 fellow, analyzes media coverage of the presidential and vice presidential candidates’ wives during the 1992 election. Campbell examines some of the major influences on coverage of Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore,…

Campaign Lessons for ’92

This Shorenstein Center report examines media coverage of the 1988 presidential election and proposes recommendations for campaign coverage moving forward. In the aftermath of the 1988 election, Republicans wondered how the personal background of  vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle could,…

Nine Sundays: A Proposal for Better Presidential Campaign Coverage

This Shorenstein Center report by John Ellis provides recommendations for improving election coverage during the nine Sundays between Labor Day and Election Day, when public interest in the presidential campaign increases. This proposal recommends that major broadcast networks provide 90…

Sound Bite Democracy: Network Evening News Presidential Campaign Coverage, 1968 and 1988

A paper by Kiku Adatto, fall 1989 fellow, analyzes how televised news coverage of presidential campaigns has changed, and finds that sound bites have been steadily shrinking. The average sound bite, or block of uninterrupted speech, from a presidential candidate…

Reflections on Television’s Role in American Presidential Elections

A paper by Lawrence K. Grossman, Visiting Stanton Lecturer, 1987-1988, explores why, despite a high volume of campaign coverage, voter turnout for the 1988 election was at its lowest point since 1924. Grossman argues that the problem is partly television,…

The Politics of Character and the Character of Journalism

A paper by Judith Lichtenberg, visiting assistant professor, spring 1988, asks why “the character question” has assumed such a central role in presidential politics. Lichtenberg analyzes why we place value on and how we measure “moral goodness, strength of will,…

Press, Polls and the 1988 Campaign: An Insider’s Critique

Dayton Duncan, spring 1989 fellow, reflects on his relationship with the media during the 1988 presidential campaign, when Duncan served as press secretary for Governor Michael Dukakis’s campaign. He critiques the excessive emphasis that the media placed on polling, the…