I left my last post somewhat up in the air. What is the best coverage an idealistic unbiased news reporting organization should use to present news about candidates? How much coverage should they give each candidate?
It seems that just giving everyone equal coverage would be wrong because it promotes marginal candidates. But giving coverage based primarily on current popularity would also be wrong.
As I mentioned before, what we really want is:
Media coverage that does not alter public opinion
except through the information the candidates
themselves present in one way or another.
That’s easy to say, but how can be accomplished.
Most likely this approach might involve using public opinion surveys (previous election results in the case of primary elections) to determine the amount of coverage but delaying the implementation of each revised coverage percentage for perhaps a 10 to 14 days, or until the next major event election event. Ideally this delay time should allow be long enough to allow anything a candidate does and says to be fully absorbed into the public awareness.
In this way candidates would be given a chance to prove their viability before their coverage is lowered.
Of course the forgoing argument assumes that the public’s view of a candidate is not based only on the amount of media coverage …. but on what the candidate actually says and does.
Another problem to ponder… if you agree with the above. If there are only two candidates we seem to assume that the coverage should be 50-50. Then why with, say four, candidates shouldn’t we give each 25% of total coverage…. even if their popularities were very different.
So… maybe equal coverage for all candidates really the better approach? Or is this approach reserved for the one on one election (which may not always be one on one).
OR…. should the news media deliberately try to level the playing field?!
AND… What about all that opinion that entertains us…. more later??