How often do the news media cover the advertising of political candidates? And how do the characteristics of the news outlet, the media market, the race, and the advertisements themselves influence the extent to which this ad amplification takes place? Examining Senate and gubernatorial campaign coverage by several newspapers and local television stations in five midwestern states in 2006, we find that coverage of advertising is quite extensive, most of it is low quality, and its volume depends both on the size of the market and the tone of the spots aired. Surprisingly, however, television stations were not more likely than newspapers to cover advertising, though television does appear to be more sensitive to negative advertising, consistent with our theory.
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