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October 3, 2008

It's been another rowdy week in media coverage of the 2008 race. has already published a list of exaggerations by both candidates, saying: "Normally we post a 'Whoppers' compilation the week before Election Day. This time we've already seen such a large number of twisted facts, misleading claims and outright falsehoods that we are doing that now." And the media itself is getting criticism, with questions about Vice Presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill's impartiality, and the repeated charge from some sectors that they're picking on Sarah Palin. The JOURNAL turns to two experts in the art of media analysis to sort it all out, Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Brooke Gladstone.


Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. She is the author, co author or editor of fifteen books including: UNSPUN: FINDING FACTS IN A WORLD OF DISINFORMATION, THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PARTY POLITICS, THE PRESS EFFECT and EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT POLITICS...AND WHY YOU'RE WRONG. During the 2004 general election, Jamieson regularly appeared on NOW WITH BILL MOYERS and THE NEWSHOUR. Photo by Robin Holland

Jamieson has long been interested in making sure Americans get beneath the veneer of politics and campaigns. Jamieson last provided users and viewers with debate-watching tips:

"I recommend not watching before the debate and after the debate. I recommend that after the debate you turn the debate off and you talk with your family about what you saw and what was important to you. And you think about what you saw."
Brooke Gladstone

Photo by Robin HollandSince 1995, Brooke Gladstone has worked what still is a rare beat in broadcast journalism: she reports on the media. As NPR's first media correspondent, she's examined the coverage of race, science, and politics, and reported on the battle between Hollywood and the many guardians of American culture; media mergers; advertising trends; and journalism's evolving ethics. She is co-host and managing editor of the NPR program ON THE MEDIA. She joined NPR in 1987, as senior editor of WEEKEND EDITION SATURDAY with Scott Simon, and later assumed the same role for NPR's daily newsmagazine, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. During this time she edited several award-winning reports and was the recipient of a Peabody Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, and an Ohio State Award, among other honors.

In 1991, Brooke Gladstone received a Knight Journalism Fellowship to Stanford University, to study Russian language and culture. From 1992-1995 — just prior to taking up the media beat — she reported for NPR from Moscow, covering the tumultuous early days of post-Communist Russia, including the bloody uprising of the Russian Parliament.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Published October 3, 2008.

Related Media:
GraphMedia Analysis
Media experts Brooke Gladstone and Les Payne take stock of how the media have fared in the 2008 cycle. Do political partisans on both sides prefer propaganda to the facts. (September 12, 2008)

GraphConvention Chat
Contributor Kathleen Hall Jamieson returns with a recap of the key moments and messages of the Republican National Convention. (September 5, 2008)

GraphPrimary Education
Our political analyst returns to take stock of the never-ending primary season. (May 2, 2008)

GraphAdding it Up
As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama make their appeals to "lunchbox voters" in Ohio and Texas, expert on media and politics Kathleen Hall Jamieson analyzes the messages on the campaign trail in the lead up to potentially decisive primaries. Plus, view a Web exclusive continuation of the February conversation between Jamieson and Moyers. (February 29, 2008)

GraphBehind the Horse Race
Kathleen Hall Jamieson looks at the issues underlying the horse race — after the show, place and wins of Super Tuesday.(February 8, 2008)

GraphThe Power of Words
Kathleen Hall Jamieson looks at the buzzwords and themes of the campaigns . (February 1, 2008)

GraphThe Long Campaign Trail
What now? Our campaign expert looks behind the post-New Hampshire headlines and the up and downs in the polls. (January 11, 2008)

YouTubeLife After Iowa
Campaign analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson on life after Iowa. (January 4, 2008)

YouTubePolitics 2.0
Bill Moyers talks with Kathleen Hall Jamieson about how the Internet has transformed the political campaign in the United States. (December 12, 2007)

References and Reading:
Fact Checking the Campaign is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that aims to monitor the accuracy of major national candidates' statements and rhetoric.

The Fact-Checker
Run by veteran journalist Michael Dobbs, The Fact-Checker is a project of the WASHINGTON POST that publishes research evaluating and providing background and context to candidate statements and popular political stories.

Politifact and Truth-0-Meter
Politifact is an extensively cross-referenced fact-checking resource run as a joint project by the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES and CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY.

Campaign News Hub Sites

NPR: Election 2008
Visit National Public Radio's election 2008 portal, offering the latest reports on candidates, audio from the recent NPR Democratic debate, and an interactive primary map.

NewsTrust: Election 2008
This service collects the top news stories and commentary on the presidential election, vetted and reviewed by trusted users and partners. Partners include leading media organizations like PBS, Scientific American, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, LinkTV, Global Voices, the Council on Foreign Relations -- as well as journalism teachers and students at Stanford University, Northeastern, Stony Brook, University of Nevada and Arizona State.

Media Analysts

Campaign Desk reports on the reporting of the campaign through a deliberative mix of reporting, analysis, criticism, and commentary. The site is updated dozens of times a day.

Project for Excellence in Journalism
The Project for Excellence in Journalism is a research organization that specializes in using empirical methods to evaluate and study the performance of the press. It is non partisan, non ideological and non political. Visit the site to find out what is, and isn't making headlines. The site provides a daily briefing.

This NPR show "tries to lift the veil from the process of 'making media,' especially news media, because it's through that lens that we literally see the world and the world sees us." All shows are archived online.

Media Literacy Tools

PBS Learning Now: Media Literacy
This PBS site takes a look at the changing world of media and includes primers on online civic engagement, media literacy and the skills needed for today's budding journalists.

PBS Teachers: Media Literacy
According to a 2005 survey, 9% of people in their 60's list the Internet as a main source of news. What do you think the percentage is for people under the age of 30? If you don't know the answer that question — you can find it at this PBS hub site for information on media and culture.

Also This Week:

Find out how you can make sure that you're voting-reading for the November election.

The JOURNAL takes an in-depth look at the news of the week to sort out the media-frenzied hype from the facts the public needs to know.'s Kathleen Hall Jamieson and ON THE MEDIA's Brooke Gladstone dissect the campaign coverage.

Georgetown University's legal and finance scholar Emma Coleman Jordan looks behind the headlines, and the politics, of the Wall Street bailout debate on the Hill and on Main Street.

Add your voice to our election year map. Plus, get perspective on pressing election-year issues from JOURNAL guests.

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