Finally, when talking about a need for contradictionand balance, we highlight the fact that it is mainly the two major politicalparties that are being represented on mainstream political formats. Despite thefact that many countries during election time have regulations to grant sameamount of airtime to each candidate, we still argue that there is a challenge toovercome the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of some political voices.For instance, Farnsworth and Licther (2006)suggested that horse-race coverage reinforces bandwagon effect, because positivehorse-race coverage improves a candidate’s standing in subsequent polls, while negativeone hurt a candidate’s poll standings. Horse-racecoverage is a metaphor to illustrate how contemporary political reportingtranslates 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 TVdebates (Beckett, lse blog if the ge2017). Rosenstiel (2005)argued that reporting on polls helps to fill the demand for anything new in a daycoverage cycle. We argue that it represents a challenge for politicaljournalism because it involves a dominant narrative that shapes the electionand damages impartiality. Additionally it might influence how citizens votebecause it undermines political chances of opponents, as well as theircredibility, and it could lead citizens to believe that their individual votewill not change anything.Moreover, as we witnessed in recentelections in the UK and the US, this trend represents even a bigger challenge whenpolitical polls turn out to be wrong, because it decreases the perceivedlegitimacy of political journalists. Then, horse-race coverage represents a challenge because it envisages candidatesas “political gladiators” (big think).
Forinstance, we noticed during the 2016 US election that it led to more adversarialtechniques of political debate. According to (journalismresearchenews),this focus on competition ends up framing a policy issue as a conflict betweenparties, which in turn increases audience’ political polarization. Moreover, itincreases citizens’ distrust in politics because it portrays the politicalsphere as a cynical game, rather than a structure dealing with collectiveconcerns. Beckett (blog lse, how we report) arguedthat political journalists are losing too much time covering the campaigninstead of looking at grassroots’ reality. For instance, the New York Times,during the 2016 US election, have focused more on horse-race analysis and discussionof 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 wasconsidered as the most important concern according to the ICM polls, it had onlyrepresented 1,1% of the total election coverage made by evening news bulletins.
Therefore, political journalism is facingwith the need to reengage citizens and to refocus on wider policies matters.