The mass media plays a number of roles in American political campaigns. Let us look at three of them.
First, they help to report and to analyze the issues that come up in the election campaign. For example, in this year’s campaign, they do things like reporting on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital and they analyze the truth of each side’s claims about what that record means.
Second, they provide a great deal of information about who is winning the election. The media love the “horse race” aspect of the election and report constantly on what the polls say about who is likely to win.
Finally, the media are used by the candidates. The candidates try to use the media to get their message out for free and in ways that will help them. They use photo opportunities and they try to create media events that will get wide coverage and will help them to look good.