Finally, when talking about a need for contradiction
and balance, we highlight the fact that it is mainly the two major political
parties that are being represented on mainstream political formats. Despite the
fact that many countries during election time have regulations to grant same
amount of airtime to each candidate, we still argue that there is a challenge to
overcome the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of some political voices.
For instance, Farnsworth and Licther (2006)
suggested that horse-race coverage reinforces bandwagon effect, because positive
horse-race coverage improves a candidate’s standing in subsequent polls, while negative
one hurt a candidate’s poll standings.
coverage is a metaphor to illustrate how contemporary political reporting
translates into the codes of sports coverage. In fact, it focuses on the
“insider” coverage of campaign strategy, reporting on who is head in the polls,
the ratings for the leaders and marginal shifts in public opinion following TV
debates (Beckett, lse blog if the ge2017).
argued that reporting on polls helps to fill the demand for anything new in a day
coverage cycle. We argue that it represents a challenge for political
journalism because it involves a dominant narrative that shapes the election
and damages impartiality. Additionally it might influence how citizens vote
because it undermines political chances of opponents, as well as their
credibility, and it could lead citizens to believe that their individual vote
will not change anything.
Moreover, as we witnessed in recent
elections in the UK and the US, this trend represents even a bigger challenge when
political polls turn out to be wrong, because it decreases the perceived
legitimacy of political journalists.
Then, horse-race coverage represents a challenge because it envisages candidates
as “political gladiators” (big think). For
instance, we noticed during the 2016 US election that it led to more adversarial
techniques of political debate. According to (journalismresearchenews),
this focus on competition ends up framing a policy issue as a conflict between
parties, which in turn increases audience’ political polarization. Moreover, it
increases citizens’ distrust in politics because it portrays the political
sphere as a cynical game, rather than a structure dealing with collective
Beckett (blog lse, how we report) argued
that political journalists are losing too much time covering the campaign
instead of looking at grassroots’ reality. For instance, the New York Times,
during the 2016 US election, have focused more on horse-race analysis and discussion
of strategy, rather than on political policies (elements).
Additionally, Stephen Cushion (university of Cardiff,
dis l’élection de laquelle il parle) has shown that even if the NHS was
considered as the most important concern according to the ICM polls, it had only
represented 1,1% of the total election coverage made by evening news bulletins.
Therefore, political journalism is facing
with the need to reengage citizens and to refocus on wider policies matters.