This research will use the coverage that the televisions and other audiovisual devices had to analyze the 2012 presidential elections. In essence, the United States of America’s election in the year 2012 was the 57th presidential elections in the history of the nation. The contestants included the Democrat’s Barack Obama, with Joe Biden as his running mate and Republican’s Mitt Romney, with Paul Ryan being his running mate. The election was closely contested and for the first time, it became difficult to predict the course of the results. Both candidates seemed strong and were backed by strong running mates full of constructive ideas. In many days, the elections dominated the news lines in various capacities. Through the print media, the radio stations and the televisions, the content on the elections dominated the newsrooms. Politics, in most cases, has proved to be a key player in the contemporary society. This is because of the role that it plays in controlling all the other aspects of life, including the economy and the country’s laws. As such, the media keenly follows them in order to give the citizens a chance to know what they can expect from their potential leaders. During such times, much of the newsroom airtime is dedicated to the issues dealing with politics, especially the presidential race (Al-Rawi, 2012). This research will analyze the content that was provided by the television channels as regards to the elections.
As already argued above, politics plays a key role in dictating the direction that a country will take. Much time is dedicated by people to analyze the chances that a particular candidate has to clinch the seat. The traditional rivalry between the Democrats and the Republicans make the race more interesting because of their difference in ideologies. In every year of elections, the candidates always come up with reasons why they should be elected into office. In essence, all these reasons, in one way or another, tend to find their way into the newsrooms and end up dominating the news coverage. Few stories and news can be as dominating in the media as politics is. Because of this nature of outdoing other stories in the media, politics, like the 2012 presidential elections becomes the best content for analysis. Despite the fact that other content that can be analyzed exists, for instance the economy and sports, politics deserves to be given utmost because of its sensitive nature (Jarvis, 2012).
Analyzing the content in the presidential elections is likely to lead to sub-storylines that dominate the news. Nevertheless, they are all related to the presidential elections and their significance in the media cannot be ignored. The presidential election is just a general term, but there are several components that found themselves in the media lines under the armpit of the 2012 presidential elections. The debate on the Republicans vs. the Democrats, discussions over the electoral colleges and their preferred candidates, voter education, voter rules and party financing are some of the sub-storylines that made headlines in almost daily basis during the entire election period. Analyzing this content mainly depends on the airtime each sub-storyline was accorded throughout the prime period and in doing so, the storyline that received more airtime leads the analysis of the content in the media.
The available sources tend to argue to the effect that the debate as to whether who was the ideal president dominated the newsrooms. In essence, there were comparisons on the qualities of both Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama in order to determine who represented the better option between the two. Through looking at their track records and their manifestos in the campaigns, this sub storyline featured almost daily in the media. The campaigns of the candidates were sometimes aired live and the proceedings on their conduct played a major role in filling both the newspapers and making headlines over a substantial period of the election period. In essence, among the content analyzed during this period, the election covered almost a third of the news lines.
Voter education, to some extent, did not have much airtime and coverage. However, it played a crucial role in contributing to the storyline of the elections. Approximately, it took eight per cent of the content during the entire election period. Several reasons can be argued to justify the reasons why it received less content in the media. Much of the hype during this time was on the candidates and the promises they made to the citizens as being their goals for America. Coming in third place in the analysis is the voter rules. Important to note is the fact that this type of information received negligible coverage in the media. This was due to a number of reasons. For instance, for every election year, voter rules are always explained to the voters. It therefore becomes easy to assume that the citizens are in a better position to remember what they were told in the previous voting period. The voter rules were also spread mostly through the print media; hence, there was no major need for them to receive a major coverage in the visual form in the televisions. They comprised of about 0.3 per cent of the content of the presidential elections.
Al-Rawi, A. K. (2012). Media practice in Iraq. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jarvis, S., & 1969-, H. (2012). The Untold Story: Portrayals of Electoral Participation in Print News Coverage of American Presidential Campaigns, 1948-2004.