The Electronic Election in Perspective
Lynda Lee Kaid
Dianne G. Bystrom
To many political observers and particularly to the media, the 1996 general election was not a very exciting one. The media often professed a boredom they regularly invited the voting public to share. However, the last presidential election campaign before the new millennium had some very interesting characteristics that will be long remembered.
The 1996 election was, of course, the most electronic election in history. The communication technologies used by candidates, by the media, and even by voters were the most advanced to date. A general election campaign of the magnitude of the 1996 race provided multiple challenges for all participants (the candidates, the media, and the voters) as they battled for control of the campaign and the campaign agenda.
The researchers who provided studies for this volume were confronted with the task of evaluating the 1996 campaign communication from a variety of perspectives and with a variety of methodologies. It is perhaps all the more remarkable that their findings have so many common threads that warrant emphasis.
One of the findings that pervades the research here is the lack of objectivity that now characterizes the news media's coverage of campaigns and campaign events. The news media no longer simply report; they interpret.