The 2012 election is over, but the debate over the fairness and accuracy of our electoral system continues. The courts are dealing with the alleged discriminatory impact of voter ID requirements on minority voters; privacy and vote manipulation are concerns as political campaigns utilize new technology to target voters; the news media are contending with harsh public criticism of their elections coverage; the campaign finance floodgates were opened with vast resources spent on negative advertising; and the Electoral College continues to undermine a national, democratic electoral system—Is this any way to run a democratic election?

This fully updated fifth edition answers that important question by looking at both recent events and recent scholarship focused on the democratic electoral process, including new data and timely illustrations from the 2012 elections.

News Media: Watchdog or Pit Bull?

News media: Watchdog or pit bull?

Did you know that…

  • there are more free and accessible sources of campaign information than ever before, yet the level of public knowledge has not significantly increased?
  • although Americans say they believe in freedom of the press, they are divided over the question, do news organizations help or hurt democracy?
  • the more education people have, the less they trust the news media?
  • a majority of the population wants to prevent the broadcast and cable networks from projecting a winner in presidential elections while people are still voting?
  • the voting-age group least informed about campaigns is the youngest: people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine?
  • television is the primary source of election news in almost every advanced democratic nation?
  • Approximately one ...
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