There’s little doubt that the Media’s coverage of the very close 2000 campaign influenced the outcome. That’s why as the 2004 Presidential election starts to heat up, Newsday’s question — “Who’s got juice?” — is so relevant:
“Hint: It’s not just Tom, Dan and Peter anymore. As the Iowa Caucuses get under way today, the question is tricky because the answer cannot be cornered simply by applying the usual yardsticks, like Nielsen or Arbitron ratings. Political influence is also a moving target that’s often here today gone tomorrow because its close relatives, Hype and Buzz, are sometimes conjoined to it.
Influence can be shaped by new technology (blogging) or old (Rush Limbaugh’s dittoheads). It can rise with the sun (“Today”) or set after dark (“Tonight”). It can get out the votes (Tom Joyner) or effectively convince people why voting is an exercise in utter futility (Jon Stewart). It skews young or old, black or white, Hispanic or Anglo, male or female, rich or poor.
Influence, in other words, is often just a strange and bewildering reflection of our strange and bewildering media landscape that has been balkanized along racial, economic and demographic lines. The consequence of all this noise jostling for our attention is that each of us seeks solace – and most of our information – from just a few sources, and not necessarily the more traditional ones.
So who’s got juice in Campaign ’04? According to interviews with consultants, journalists and academics, here are the top players:
1. Jon Stewart Host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and anchor of its “Indecision ’04″ coverage
2. Tim Russert NBC News
3. Sean Hannity Fox News Channel, syndicated radio host
4. Tom Joyner Dallas-based syndicated radio host
5. Tom Brokaw NBC News
6. Jon Macks “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”
7. Rush Limbaugh Syndicated radio host
8. Michael Schur, Tina Fey “Saturday Night Live”
9. Jorge Ramos Anchor, “Noticiero Univision”
10. Jude Brennan “Late Show With David Letterman”
11. Steve Scully Political editor, C-SPAN
12. Mark Halperin Political director, ABC News
13. Katie Couric “Today”
14. Carl Cameron Chief political correspondent, Fox News Channel
15. Gideon Yago Correspondent, MTV News
16. Ted Koppel/Peter Jennings ABC News
17. Dan Rather/Bob Schieffer CBS News
18. The network “off-airs” of ABC and NBC
19. Lori Montenegro Telemundo’s Washington correspondent
20. Tucker Carlson CNN
Not Necessarily the News
Newsday, January 19, 2004
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