Journalists heart tactics

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

And that's what we find so depressing about the nearly two-year-long coverage of the current campaign. That huge, sweeping portions of it were devoted to nothing more than insider tactic talk. What a waste.

The trend actually seems to be intensifying (if that's possible) as we hit the homestretch. From Journalism.org:

The coverage is also taking on an increasingly tactical lens in the final days. Last week, attention to tactics and strategy-including McCain's invocation of the plumber to represent the working man-accounted for 26% of the newshole, making that general theme the biggest component of the week's election coverage. Coverage of these strategic aspects of the race included the fight over key battleground states (7%) and the parade of polls, including numerous daily tracking surveys, at 5%.

We think the survey actually underplayed the tactics count because it did not include all the debate coverage as part of that category, even though debate chatter is overwhelmingly tactics-based.

Meanwhile, note what's been left on the newsroom floor [emphasis added]:

The economic crisis and elements of the economy not directly related to that crisis combined for 13%. After that, all other policy discussions accounted for a total of 3% of the newshole. The subjects of health care, terrorism and security issues, Iraq, and Afghanistan, each accounted for less than 1% of the election coverage.

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