of camera shot used. Finally, the ads were also coded for the presence
of a list of specific special effects (see Appendix).
The 1,204 ads were coded by trained graduate student coders.
Training sessions explained the categories, applied them to political
spots from other elections, and supervised practice coding sessions.
At the conclusion of training sessions, intercoder reliability was
determined on a set of sample ads (10%) drawn from the universe
of ads used in the study. The intercoder reliability across all categories
5 In succeeding chapters, we provide the results of this
analysis of videostyle in presidential campaigns. In addition to overall
trends in videostyle across time, we also provide particular analysis
of videostyle in relation to negative campaigning, to political candidate position (incumbent versus challenger and political party representation), and to potential for ethical manipulation. We also provide
a comparison of the videostyle of U.S. presidential candidates with
that of their counterparts in other democracies around the world, and
we discuss how the news media report about political campaign
This rule meant, for instance, that the 1988 ad called the "Revolving Door" was
included as a George Bush campaign ad, but that the "Willie Horton" ad sponsored
by a third-party group was not. Likewise, spots advocating election of a particular
candidate but sponsored by the AFL-CIO or the National Rifle Association (NRA)
The Political Commercial Archive at the University of Oklahoma does not have
data on the airtime given to particular spots. In the case of early campaigns, it is
sometimes not possible to determine whether a spot actually aired or was only
produced by the candidate.
Until the last few presidential campaigns, many presidential candidates concentrated their media time-buying on national networks. However, over the past
few campaign cycles the expansion of cable and satellite television and a deliberate
strategy of making regional time-buys have changed the landscape for presidential
television spot buying.
Issues can incorporate general candidate (or opponent) issue concerns, as well
as specific policy preferences or proposals. On the other hand, ads that focus on
images generally stress the candidate's (or opponent's) personal qualities, background, qualifications, traits, and the like.
In order to calculate intercoder reliability, we used the formula suggested by Holsti ( North,
Zinnes, 1963). It is given for two coders and
can be modified for any number of coders.