The Effects of Horse Race Journalism on Politics

The Effects of Horse Race Journalism on Politics

Horse races are an ancient tradition that have played a role in many civilizations. They are characterized by the use of fast-paced horses that compete for a purse or prize money. They also serve as a social gathering for participants and spectators. Horse racing is also a popular sport amongst young children and a common activity for many families.

The term horse race is sometimes used in the context of a political contest. For example, when referring to an election, some commentators suggest that the campaign is becoming a horse race. This is often an overstatement, but it can be effective in generating excitement and attention to a contest. The word is also a metaphor for a contest of close and often conflicting competitors.

While criticism of pre-election polling has long been around, there is a growing body of research suggesting that when journalists focus on who is ahead or behind in an election and ignore policy issues — what’s known as horse race journalism — voters, candidates and the news industry suffer.

For example, in a presidential horse race, mudslinging and name calling easily overwhelm real policy issues, and the outcome of an election becomes a matter of horse-race politics. This is why some researchers believe that horse race coverage contributes to a culture of politics that’s hostile to ideas and the democratic process.

Another example is the way that many sports reporters treat political campaigns as a horse race, using tactics like quoting experts to imply that one candidate has a better chance of winning. This type of reporting is often seen during close elections and in the weeks leading up to Election Day. The practice is especially prevalent at newspapers that are owned by a large number of owners and at newspapers that produce a high volume of stories.

Some people who study the effects of horse race reporting have suggested that the industry needs to address its lack of a fully funded wraparound aftercare solution for racehorses once they leave the track. Without one, these animals hemorrhage into the slaughter pipeline, where they are euthanized by lethal injection or sold to veal farms in Mexico and Canada. The majority of those who don’t die in the racetrack slaughterhouse will spend the rest of their lives confined to a stall, whipped by humans to a breakneck speed that is often well beyond what their bodies can handle.

Horses are social animals that instinctively know what to do if they are injured. They can stop running and take a timeout, as they would in the wild, or they can try to keep going until they are so exhausted they collapse. On a racetrack, horses are drugged and whipped into an artificial herd mentality while they are in close quarters with other horses in a game that isn’t natural. The results are brutal and, for the most part, unavoidable. Some of these animals will die from pulmonary hemorrhage or blunt-force head trauma, while others are left with broken bones, severed spines and ruptured ligaments.