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Balance in Campaign Coverage
Unformatted Document Text:  Coverage Balance 5 broader system of media regulation, extending from legal imperatives to cultural conventions” 17 Conceptually, objectivity has various components. The idea asks reporters to set aside their personal views on and interests in issues. Thus, reporters are expected to strive to maintain “professional distance” from their own views or the assessment of a dispute. It also requires one to be value-neutral and not to distort facts. Finally, the concept of objectivity calls for an uncaring about a certain perspective on conflicting issues, and such impartiality entails balanced coverage of them. Among the various aspects of objectivity just mentioned, this study is concerned with the last element of objectivity. Considerable attention will be paid to the notions of balance, favorablility and impartiality. In what form do deviations from balanced coverage actually exist? In other words, what principle of balance is campaign coverage assumed to have and to apply? Although previous studies have not come up with a conclusive consensus on measures for distinguishing balance from one-sidedness, their main arguments, considering the distributive aspects of campaign coverage, can be categorized by the major principles of equality and equity. 18 First, many studies do not distinguish imbalance from favorability. Their determinations are based on the equality principle, which asks for arithmetically equal amounts of salience and levels of tone (i.e., valence) toward candidates. 19 If both the Democratic and the Republican candidates received, at least roughly, the same amount of salience and comparable tone (i.e., positive or negative), the studies concluded that coverage was balanced and media favorability did not exist. For instance, D’Alessio and Allen looked on a “50-50 split standard” as an indication of coverage balance, in which half the coverage amount should be distributed to one side and half to the other. 20 Deviations from such a standard were considered as the consequences of imbalance and media favorability.

Authors: Son, Young Jun. and Weaver, David.
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Coverage Balance 5
broader system of media regulation, extending from legal imperatives to cultural conventions”
17
Conceptually, objectivity has various components. The idea asks reporters to set aside
their personal views on and interests in issues. Thus, reporters are expected to strive to maintain
“professional distance” from their own views or the assessment of a dispute. It also requires one
to be value-neutral and not to distort facts. Finally, the concept of objectivity calls for an
uncaring about a certain perspective on conflicting issues, and such impartiality entails balanced
coverage of them. Among the various aspects of objectivity just mentioned, this study is
concerned with the last element of objectivity. Considerable attention will be paid to the notions
of balance, favorablility and impartiality.
In what form do deviations from balanced coverage actually exist? In other words, what
principle of balance is campaign coverage assumed to have and to apply? Although previous
studies have not come up with a conclusive consensus on measures for distinguishing balance
from one-sidedness, their main arguments, considering the distributive aspects of campaign
coverage, can be categorized by the major principles of equality and equity.
18
First, many studies do not distinguish imbalance from favorability. Their determinations
are based on the equality principle, which asks for arithmetically equal amounts of salience and
levels of tone (i.e., valence) toward candidates.
19
If both the Democratic and the Republican
candidates received, at least roughly, the same amount of salience and comparable tone (i.e.,
positive or negative), the studies concluded that coverage was balanced and media favorability
did not exist. For instance, D’Alessio and Allen looked on a “50-50 split standard” as an
indication of coverage balance, in which half the coverage amount should be distributed to one
side and half to the other.
20
Deviations from such a standard were considered as the
consequences of imbalance and media favorability.


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