Print Media: The Grand Rapids Press
This week the Grand Rapids press ran only four articles on the 2004 presidential election. Two of them, Kerry, Cheney, spar over economy, taxes, and Bush campaign sues over attack ads are critiqued in the Grand Rapids Press Coverage section above. The other two articles consisted of a short article titled Kerry Plans pause for minor surgery and a longer piece, GOP recruits IRS help in analysis of Kerry tax proposals. The minor surgery article is a particularly egregious example of horse race coverage, focusing on Kerry’s minor medical condition and how it will delay his campaign schedule.
Local TV News Coverage
The three local TV channels ran a combined total of four election stories this week. The total run time of the four stories was 3:48. Of the two major party candidates, John Kerry was shown speaking for 24 seconds, George Bush for 7 seconds. WOOD TV 8’s “claim check” story was the only piece out of the four that was not horse race coverage.
Paid Political ads
This week there was an increase in the number of paid political ads. The Bush campaign paid for a total of 34 ads that ran during local TV news broadcasts. Whereas during the previous week the ads were evenly split between pro-Bush and Anti-Kerry ads, this week the majority were Anti-Kerry attack ads. This week there were also seven anti-Bush ads that aired, paid for by the AFL-CIO. These are the first anti-Bush ads that have appeared since this study commenced.