Journalists heart tactics

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

And that's what we find so depressing about the nearly two-year-long coverage of the current campaign. That huge, sweeping portions of it were devoted to nothing more than insider tactic talk. What a waste.

The trend actually seems to be intensifying (if that's possible) as we hit the homestretch. From

The coverage is also taking on an increasingly tactical lens in the final days. Last week, attention to tactics and strategy-including McCain's invocation of the plumber to represent the working man-accounted for 26% of the newshole, making that general theme the biggest component of the week's election coverage. Coverage of these strategic aspects of the race included the fight over key battleground states (7%) and the parade of polls, including numerous daily tracking surveys, at 5%.

We think the survey actually underplayed the tactics count because it did not include all the debate coverage as part of that category, even though debate chatter is overwhelmingly tactics-based.

Meanwhile, note what's been left on the newsroom floor [emphasis added]:

The economic crisis and elements of the economy not directly related to that crisis combined for 13%. After that, all other policy discussions accounted for a total of 3% of the newshole. The subjects of health care, terrorism and security issues, Iraq, and Afghanistan, each accounted for less than 1% of the election coverage.

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