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…