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Media coverage of candidates is splitting parties

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Alexandra Lozano, News Editor

Alexandra Lozano, News Editor

Today’s media coverage of the 2008 presidential candidates is splitting parties and confusing voters.

What used to be a rivalry between Republicans and Democrats has now turned into a rivalry within the Democratic Party. The coverage of GOP candidates is reported as a united party even if the candidates have different opinions and solutions to today’s issues.

However, the Democrats are always portrayed as having a showdown within the party to see who’s going to fight the big-dog Republicans.

Lately the media has been pitting Sen. Hilary Clinton against Sen. Barack Obama in the race to the White House.

Sure the pair are opposites: Black and white, male and female, but that’s about where it ends.

The Republican Party, with more than five candidates running for president, are mainly seen on TV as best friends.

The headline for the Republican Party in Guardian Unlimited reads “GOP Presidential Contenders Woo Iowans.”

In the New York Times the headline reads “G.O.P. Candidates Lay Into Democrats, Not One Another” allowing readers to believe that the Republican Party is a united unit and the Democrats are not.

However, any reports about the Democratic Party reminds the readers there’s an underlined battle going on.

The Wall Street Journal claims Democrat “Candidates Set For a Showdown.”

And the Washington Post wants everyone to know “For Now, An Unofficial Rivalry” is emerging between Democrats.

What is going on here?

Even during the 2006 gubernatorial primary elections in California the top democratic candidates, Steve Westly and Phil Angelides, were battling not only on the debate floor but in the headlines as well.

The party couldn’t get it together and votes were divided almost evenly between the two.

KABC-7 reported “The Back Story: Westly, Angelides Battle” while ultimately The New York Times were right when they said “In a Fight Against the ‘Governator,’ California Democrats Lack a Superhero.”

Back in December 2006, the Washington Post reported, “Neither Clinton nor Obama has formally declared a candidacy, but their rivalry is already the talk of the chamber, an amusing sideshow for Democrats and Republicans.”

As if Americans should watch out for the entertaining rivalry between the two party members. While the media is breaking apart one leading political party, the other political party appears stronger, united and more cooperative in completing their agenda.

Washington Post also reported, “During a routine vote yesterday morning, Obama and Clinton brushed past each other on the senate floor. Obama winked and touched Clinton on her elbow. Without pausing, she kept walking.”

There was nothing similar reported in any articles covering the Republican Party. No winks or brushes between McCain and Giuliani reported that might strike up a rivalry (and outrage) between the Republican Party.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on the battle between the bold and the beautiful of the Blue Party: “For all the attention to the top-tier contenders –Sens. Clinton and Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards—the coming debates are singular opportunities for the race’s media starved dark horses, notably Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. There, for at least a couple of hours, they can compete on a level playing field, and hope to score.”

Many of the Republican Party presidential nominees are also “media starved dark horses, however no newspaper refers to these candidates in the same context.

Sure the Republican Party has its own split within the party over issues like abortion, but this is nothing like the rift the Democrats gets when its candidates are split over health care of immigration. If you’re a conservative, you unite for the good of the country: pro-life, troop increase.

But if you’re a Democrat, the stakes run high when you lean just a little too much to the left. The New York Times ran a small blurb towards the end of their story about the smallest scuffle between Republican candidates.

“And one candidate, Jim Gilmore the former governor of Virginia, drew soft boos when he mentioned candidates’ names in a not-so-subtle way of suggesting that three of the leading candidates had records of shifting positions on some issues that are crucial to conservatives,” reported Times.

I hate to be all John Stossel about things, but give me a break.

Alexandra Lozano, a junior journalism major, is news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at alozano@ulv.edu.

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