America’s Understanding of the Governmental Process

Discussion of the influence that the media has on voters and how they think about issues and candidates.

This paper looks at the impact that the media has on America’s understanding of the governmental process. It addresses the questions of how the media should cover political issues and candidates and how media coverage can influence voter opinion.
`Virtually everyone agrees that the media have a profound effect on the electorate’s thinking. Given their enormous influence, however, it is remarkable how little has been said about what the media should cover in a properly functioning democracy. There are pundits of various types who bemoan both the lack of focus on the issues and the excessive attention paid to the horse race, but no one has developed a rationale to explain why this state of affairs is wrong. Because of the media’s enormous influence, it is worth asking how issue and candidate coverage should be balanced.`