Canadian coverage of the U.S. primaries and caucuses
Having trouble getting excited about Romney versus Santorum? You’re likely not alone. Judging by these Globe and Mail comments, intense interest in the 2008 Clinton-Obama race has been replaced by a heaping of scorn on the U.S. political process and its wannabes. Reflecting the public mood, Canadian coverage seems more subdued than 2008, although not completely silent. The National Post is running a special online section, while the CBC has a lively election blog. The Globe and Mail’s interest was piqued by the Liberal Party’s possible interest in running a U.S.-style primary.
For the most part, though, our daily diet comes straight from the U.S.A., where the sight of Republican candidates plunging off cliffs rendered commentator Martin Bashir momentarily speechless. Led by the hyperbolic Fox News, coverage involves drumming up more attention than the process deserves, according to this Reuters commentary. The Pew Center breaks down the coverage, lending some credence to the existence of the so-called Ron Paul media blackout that has many a blog buzzing. Now unclear voting results have left journalists scrambling to prove Iowa matters. When the Wall Street Journal dubs it the "opening shot," you get the idea no one is willing to drop the game. Still, if you can believe it, coverage of the primaries has actually declined in the U.S. in recent decades, according to this study.[node:ad]
The Society for Professional Journalists has created an election toolbox for those willing to follow the story to its end. For Canadian journalists, the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute’s Canadian Primer to the U.S. 2012 Primaries and Caucuses is a helpful resource. It contains some succinct answers to the question “Why should Canadians care?” – useful for those hoping to move the story from eye-rolling gaffes to substantive news for Canadian audiences.