March 11, 2009
The case of Rudolph Guiliani suggests that mass media cannot dictate to the public who to vote for. However, since it is impossible to vote for a candidate one has never heard of, mass media cannot help but determine who the public will not vote for.
Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president in January 2007, yet even by by February 2006 over 40% of the people heard enough about Obama to have an opinion about him.
For comparison, a different Democratic congressmember running for the nomination, Dennis Kucinich, never managed to have more than 35% name recognition, even during the height of the primary season.
Data: pollingreport.com: Newsweek, NBC and Gallup series.