Does anyone honestly expect the media to change the way they cover political campaigns ("1992 Election Coverage Open to Debate," by Jay Sharbutt, Nov. 9)?
Following the 1984 presidential campaign, Martin Schram, in his book "The Great American Video Game," consulted several prominent figures at ABC, CBS and NBC. Most admitted that their coverage could have been better. They could have focused on the issues more, resisted the temptation to cover the election like a horse race. These network representatives vowed to rethink the way they cover a presidential race.
So what changed in 1988? Networks continued to make news judgments based on entertaining viewers rather than informing them. At the expense of the issues, candidate's backgrounds were probed with disastrous results. Just ask Gary Hart, Joseph Biden or Dan Quayle. Flag-waving and slips of the tongue seemed more important than who was going to do what about the deficit.
Candidates and the media agree that issues are boring, pictures are interesting. In order to get their face on the nightly news, in essence a free commercial, candidates have found that they have to stage photogenic events.