At the Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz writes:

How substantive is the media's approach to the 2012 race? From November through mid-April, the horse race won by several lengths.

Sixty-four percent of the media attention was framed around polls, advertising, fundraising, strategy and who was up or down. Another 12 percent focused on the candidates' personal backgrounds, families, religion, marriages and finances.

As for the candidates' stands on the issues, that accounted for a mere 11 percent of the coverage..
America's leading social philosopher, John Dewey, described politics as "the shadow cast on society by big business". We're supposed to focus mostly on "values" and "personal qualities" because the issues that the public cares about are off the agenda. So the crucial question for deciding who to vote for is essentially limited to "do you want to have a beer with the guy?"