The Clinton camp has recently charged their candidate is being held to a higher standard than the rest of the field, and Ms. Clinton may have point. In a study recently released by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign "in the early months of the 2008 presidential campaign, ... had already winnowed the race to mostly five candidates and offered Americans relatively little information about their records or what they would do if elected", according to the comprehensive review of election coverage across the media.
"The press also gave some candidates measurably more favorable coverage than others. Democrat Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, enjoyed by far the most positive treatment of the major candidates during the first five months of the year?followed closely by Fred Thompson, the actor who at the time was only considering running", the study continued.
"Meanwhile, the tone of coverage of the two party front runners, New York Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, was virtually identical, and more negative than positive", according to the study.
In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%)or the candidates' ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates'records or past public performance", the study found.
TONE OF COVERAGE
Percent of All Stories
Hillary Clinton 26.9 37.8
Barack Obama 46.7 15.8
Rudy Giuliani 27.8 37.0
John McCain 12.4 47.9
Perhaps this is why we 've found a collision of "chilled sensuality and violent hilarity".