Political Conventions Staged but Still Worth Media Coverage

By Zimmerman, John | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 30, 1996 | Go to article overview

Political Conventions Staged but Still Worth Media Coverage


Zimmerman, John, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: John Zimmerman Daily Herald Editorial Writer

There were truly mass media at the United Center. About 15,000 reporters, editors, commentators and photographers covered the Democratic National Convention - more than enough to populate Itasca and Inverness combined, enough to fill the upper deck at Comiskey Park.

That's a big crowd for an event that has so little news value; that is, if Ted Koppel is right.

Koppel took his live "Nightline" show out of San Diego on the grounds that the Republican National Convention was a staged event that didn't merit serious coverage.

Is Koppel right? Are conventions worth all the time, effort and money the media put into them?

"Next time, why don't we just rent hotel rooms in New York and watch it on television?" said Andrew Rosenthal, Washington editor of the New York Times.

Rosenthal's comment, though, is tongue in cheek. Although he notes that the Times will be evaluating its convention coverage strategy, he is satisfied his readers are getting more from his newspaper than they can expect from television. The speeches, the candidates profiles, the platforms, the color, the insights; these are things the print media can deliver and continue to do so. They will not be compelled to do a Koppel.

But were the news media lulled into going along with the staged show, grousing about lack of substance, but failing to go out and seek stories that defy the predictability of the conventions?

In 1988, reporters complained of the boredom at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans. Fresh off a night of fun in the French Quarter, they assembled for the press conference where George Bush was to formally introduce his choice for vice president, Dan Quayle. The questions were tame, at least until one reporter dared to ask Quayle how he could support a strong national defense after having evaded service in Vietnam.

From there, the convention turned from a sleepy affair to one in which the public was awakened to potential flaws in the character of a man a heartbeat away from the presidency, all because of one good question.

Media analyst David Caputo would like to see more tough questions in convention coverage. Caputo, president of Hunter College in New York, cited CNN interviews of Mario Cuomo and Birch Bayh of Indiana, father of the Indiana governor.

"They were all soft interviews," Caputo said. He added that the presidential candidates ought to be pushed to explain their positions and be held accountable for them.

"It would be helpful to have a specific enumeration of what the candidate said, against what is in the platform," he said.

Caputo also said that when television networks began limiting their coverage of the conventions, it made it easier for the parties to stage the conventions. The political parties have discovered a way to limit negative news.

"The parties have figured out how to beat the media at their own game," he said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Political Conventions Staged but Still Worth Media Coverage
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.