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Contemporary political reporting, especially news that has a focus on elections and policy debates, is often covered as though these matters are a game among competing candidates and elites. Thus, this dominant approach to covering elections has come to be referred to by academics and others as horse race journalism, the game schema, or the strategy frame. Rather than foregrounding issue positions, candidate qualifications, or policy proposals, journalists instead tend to cast these features of the political terrain as secondary to a focus on who's ahead and who's behind in winning the campaign or a policy battle, the principal players (i.e. the generals and lieutenants) involved, and the shifting gamesmanship strategies and tactics employed.

Horse race journalism focuses almost exclusively on which candidates or players are ...

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