After months of breathless build-up, anticipation and analysis, the race for the White House officially began with the Iowa caucuses last week. 

There's a lot of king making, or in this case queen making, that goes on in the news media. They kind of pre-select the people who they think are viable and they really give short shrift to everybody else.

Russell Frank, associate professor

It was a bad night for Donald Trump, conventional wisdom and the notion that media exposure amounts to political currency that candidates cash in on at the ballot box.

Trump, the undisputed media darling, finished behind Ted Cruz on the Republican side. As for the Democrats, Bernie Sanders, who the news channels paid scant attention to until very recently, ended in a photo finish alongside Hilary Clinton, the media's heavy favourite for the nomination.

It's early - and Iowa is usually a better indicator of who cannot win, as opposed to who can - but this much we do know: there is a large gap between the candidates the mainstream media like to cover - and those people actually vote for. 

We talk to James Warren, the chief media correspondent at Poynter Institute; Zaid Jilani, a reporter at The Intercept; Hadas Gold, a media reporter at Politico; and Associate Professor at Penn State College of Communications, Russell Frank.

Source: Al Jazeera