Events make the difference, not the media, says K-State professor
By Kira Everhart
Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, there has been much criticism of the media's war coverage, both by Democrats and Republicans. But Joseph Unekis, associate professor of political science at Kansas State University, said the events themselves are what will have the greatest impact on upcoming elections, not how they are covered.
"It's the events that make the difference," he said. "Obviously, if it's negative, it's going to hurt one side."
According to Unekis, the common response to negative coverage is to quiet it or place blame elsewhere.
"Those who look bad in the press will either try to oppress it or say it's the other side's propaganda," he said. "If someone has something to hide, they will attempt to shut things out."
Unekis said propaganda is indeed being used in the race for the White House.
"I've seen it, but I've seen it from the right," he said. "This group has been trying to redefine what propaganda is."
Unekis said the group with the most to lose from media coverage is the Bush administration.
"In this particular election, coverage that does not paint a rosy picture will hurt the administration," he said. "In that sense, I'm sure they're trying to manipulate the press to a certain extent."
At the same time, the coverage could help benefit the administration in elections as well, Unekis said.
"If they do dig up weapons of mass destruction in the desert somewhere, that will reflect well on Bush," he said. "Bush will either have a lucky break or it's going to go the other way. I don't think this race is going to be really close -- I think this one is going to break in one direction or the other."