Presidential Debates: The Challenge of Creating an Informed Electorate / Edition 1

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Do Presidential Debates really make issues more central to the campaign, or are they merely joint press conferences in which pre-packaged slogans hold sway? This work places contemporary debates in their historical context, tracing their development in the American political tradition from the eighteenth century to the present. The authors conclude with thoughtful recommendations designed to preserve the best elements of traditional debate while adapting to the requirements of the broadcast age.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With all their faults, presidential debates remain the best way for most voters to learn about candidates. This book in turn is one of the best ways to learn all the ins and outs about presidential debates."—Newton N. Minow

"Presidential Debates should not be ignored....[It] is well researched, well written, and full of interesting ideas."—Columbia Journalism Review

"Jamieson and Birdsell are unique in their historical approach to the practice of debate. Their defense of its contributions toward 'creating an informed electorate' is interesting, informative, and well documented."—Perspective

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195066609
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1990
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She has written two other books on political discourse—Packaging the Presidency and Eloquence in an Electronic Age—and has served on the 20th-Century Fund's Taskforce on Presidential Debates. David S. Birdsell is Assistant Professor at Baruch College and consultant to the Congressional Management Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Characteristics of Prebroadcast Debates in America 17
2 The Contributions of American Debate, 1770-1920 39
3 The Limitations of American Debate, 1770-1920 64
4 The Impact of Broadcasting on Debates 84
5 The Power of Broadcast Debates 120
6 The Problems of Broadcast Debates 162
7 The Promise of Debates 194
Appendix 1 Presidential Debates, 1948-1984 223
Appendix 2 The Law and Presidential Debates 229
Notes 231
References 241
Index 259
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