How do different media cover politics and affect voters? Are newspapers a boon and television a bane to democratic functioning? While these questions have long been the subject of debate, a variety of methodological hurdles have hampered prior attempts to document media differences and their effects. In this article, I discuss these challenges and offer an approach for overcoming them to the greatest extent possible. I then combine comprehensive media content analyses with an election day exit poll to assess campaign coverage and its effect on voters. I find that television news and newspapers differ substantially in the quantity of coverage but do not drastically differ in terms of content. More important, I find that newspapers, and not television news, play a significant, although potentially limited, role in informing the electorate.
- Campaign coverage
- Voter learning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science