The Tortoise or the Hare? Media Coverage and Legislative Success

  • Alphonse G. Samson University of the Philippines


What is the relationship between the level of media coverage on a proposed legislation and the likelihood of its enactment into law? This study investigates whether or not media coverage quickens the passage of legislative bills. The conventional notion is that salient bills are enacted sooner because media attention facilitates the process. This study argues, on the contrary, that increased media coverage actually attenuates legislative speed. It draws from media effects literature which looks at media not just as a conduit, but as a contributor that pulls more actors and interests into the policy arena. Clashes of interests cause instability that slows down the policy process. Using multiple regression analysis, this study tests the effects of media coverage on the length of time a bill would take before enactment. A total of 234 bills from the 14th and 15th Congresses of the Philippines were analyzed. Online articles from the Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Philippine Star citing these bills were counted. The findings suggest that increased media coverage slows down the legislative process but this media effect is obscured by the higher quickening effect of bill urgency. The president, it appears, predominates and remains to be a potent actor in the policy process. Policy entrepreneurs are recommended to rely not only on media attention but to explore other strategies internal and external to the legislature. Future research should consider qualitative analysis, include other variables, and expand the selection of bills and news sources.

Author Biography

Alphonse G. Samson, University of the Philippines
Alphonse Samson received his BA Political Science degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2015. His research interests include media and politics in the Philippines. He is currently a research associate at the University of the Philippines Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs. He may be reached at


Congress of the Philippines, legislative success, legislative speed, media attention, policymaking, punctuated equilibrium