Study: Media narrows field of candidates

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When it comes to presidential politics, the news media loves front-runners. And seems to hate them, too.

Within the first five months of the presidential contest, the media effectively had reduced the field to five candidates, even though there were 17 mainstream Democrats and Republicans, a study of political coverage found.

But the tone of the coverage for the top two front-runners — Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani — hardly was friendly. Nearly four out of 10 stories were negative, more than three out of 10 were neutral and only the rest were positive.

The study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, to be released Monday, also portrays the political press as a hidebound institution out of touch with the desires of citizens.

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