Media Coverage in Arizona

While there is no significant amount of substantive media coverage for either candidate, it is evident that there is a clear agenda set for national news outlets such as The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal. Representative Kirkpatrick has virtually no national media coverage unless she is generally mentioned in an article specifically about Senator McCain. Specifically, this agenda is Senator McCain’s status after the “Trump dilemma” that many republicans around the nation are facing. Here, it is highlighted that McCain’s denouncing of Trump could have negative effects on his campaign. On page 57 of Parties and the Media by Hayes, he mentions the idea of the “agenda setting effect” and how agenda setting is a “important antecedent to priming”. The political discourse of Trump’s effect on all republicans running for election, or re-election, show how national media outlets’ have primed the conflict between McCain and Trump.

As briefly stated before, Representative Kirkpatrick is not receiving adequate national news coverage. Low amounts of national news coverage most likely come from her low name recognition at the national level, as well as the state level. This has also been overshadowed by McCain’s views on Trump and Clinton’s increasing campaign efforts shown in an article in The Washington Post. Representative Kirkpatrick is not being mentioned much among the top articles in The New York Times either, unless mentioned with Senator McCain. While this has not changed the current course of the race, it has left Representative Kirkpatrick’s stance on many popular national issues like abortion or immigration unknown. Local and state news sources have been positively better for media coverage on substantial information on both Representative Kirkpatrick and Senator McCain. They also proved to be useful in identifying the primed issues of the state of Arizona.

The most helpful media coverage in the state or local category can be found here at AZ central’s website or here at Tucson.com. There is a surprising deviance in the local media coverage from the usual issues set by national mainstream media that usually mentions Trump or Clinton. We know that priming is the defining of issues used to evaluate candidates. (Crowder-Meyer, October 21, 2016). Various articles on AZ central show that the major issues primed by the media are popular nationally as well. The top three issues seemed to be on minimum wage reform, education funding, and “Obamacare”. More importantly, local news outlets have covered events such as the recent debate between Representative Kirkpatrick and Senator McCain. There is one issue dealing with McCain that is very interesting on a national scale. McCain issued a statement basically saying that he would oppose any supreme court nominee suggested by Clinton. This has caused a stir among local media outlets in Arizona and could potentially become a nationally covered issue if more republicans follow suit.

It may be true that Representative Kirkpatrick has received a few advantages in media coverage on a national scale, but it is mostly due to the current climate of the presidential election. Locally, the coverage is equal but she is still far behind the long-time incumbent Senator McCain whose name recognition and incumbent status outshine the challenger greatly. It will take a lot more to sway the loyal coalition of support that Senator McCain has acquired throughout 6 terms of office, but with Clinton focusing efforts on Arizona, many changes could still occur.

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