ERIC Number: ED218638
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
Foreign Policy News in the 1980 Presidential Election Campaign.
Stovall, James Glen
A survey was conducted to determine the extent and content of newspaper coverage of foreign policy issues in the 1980 United States presidential campaign. Fifty daily newspapers from every region of the country were selected randomly based on circulation. A list of 757 news events was divided into party and nonparty events, and the party events were then divided into campaign events and issue events. Issue events were in turn divided into economic, domestic, and foreign categories. After the campaign itself, foreign affairs subjects constituted about 15% of total events covered. Four issues generated more news than any others: (1) Iran-hostages (27 events); (2) the Stealth airplane (18 events); (3) Salt II negotiations (13 events); and (4) war and peace (10 events). The data indicates that both candidates initiated foreign affairs issues in hope of political advantage; that newspapers covered these issues more intensely than those that had more direct bearing on the campaign; that editors were more interested in the war and peace issue (while favoring the Iranian crisis on the front page); that they were least interested in the Stealth issue, perhaps because it was too complicated; and that neither they nor the politicians were willing to explore the Salt II issue in spite of clear differences between the candidates. As a whole, foreign affairs coverage was more political than substantive. (JL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Presidential Campaigns
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Boston, MA, May 2-5, 1982).