The Third Agenda in U.S. Presidential Debates: DebateWatch and Viewer Reactions, 1996-2004

The Third Agenda in U.S. Presidential Debates: DebateWatch and Viewer Reactions, 1996-2004

by Susan Buehler, Diana B. Carlin, Kelly McDonald, Tammy Vigil
     
 

Drawing on scholarly research and media critiques, The Third Agenda in Presidential Debates examines the most recent U.S. presidential debates from the perspective of television viewers who watched the encounters first hand. Through a national program—DebateWatch—tens of thousands of viewers had an opportunity to provide feedback to the debate

Overview

Drawing on scholarly research and media critiques, The Third Agenda in Presidential Debates examines the most recent U.S. presidential debates from the perspective of television viewers who watched the encounters first hand. Through a national program—DebateWatch—tens of thousands of viewers had an opportunity to provide feedback to the debate sponsors, the campaigns, and the media following the 1996, 2000, and 2004 presidential debates. As a result, thousands of groups met after each debate to discuss what they liked and didn't like about a particular candidate, what they learned, and what they still needed to know about the issues presented before them. These focus groups, along with various surveys and emails, allowed viewers to lay out a concise third agenda for the debates: the public's, one in which comparisons could be drawn between their own interests and that of the media and the candidates themselves.

Besides clearly mapping out the important aspects the public looks for when watching a debate, the authors demonstrate how citizen participation challenges candidates and their issues. In addition, the authors offer predictions for future debates and how new generations will choose to participate.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It offers new data and a perspective (qualitative) on presidential debates that differs from most work in this area. . . . There is no question that this book offers a unique and important contribution to the literature. It merits a place in libraries and on scholars' bookshelves." - Political Science Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780275967734
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/30/2008
Series:
Praeger Series in Political Communication Series
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Theodore F. Sheckels
"The Third Agenda offers an important look at how citizens process the information that the quadrennial presidential and vice presidential debates offer. It points to important differences between academic or media assessment and that of citizens without pushing a set of conclusions as the conclusions. The book lets the citizens speak while offering observations that help guide those in the academy to grasp how the debates may or may not be succeeding in reaching their true goals-informing, persuading, and energizing voters."

Theodore F. Sheckels

"The Third Agenda offers an important look at how citizens process the information that the quadrennial presidential and vice presidential debates offer. It points to important differences between academic or media assessment and that of citizens without pushing a set of conclusions as the conclusions. The book lets the citizens speak while offering observations that help guide those in the academy to grasp how the debates may or may not be succeeding in reaching their true goals-informing, persuading, and energizing voters."

Theodore F. Sheckels, Professor of English & Communication, Randolph-Macon College

Meet the Author

Diana B. Carlin is a professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She has conducted research on presidential debates since 1980 and created the DebateWatch project. She served on the advisory board for the Commission on Presidential Debates from 1987 until 2000. She is also the co-editor of and contributor to The 1992 Presidential Debates in Focus.

Kelly M. McDonald is an assistant professor at The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication where he served as Director of Forensics for five years. He is active in the Consortium for Strategic Communication, an initiative focused on national security and terrorism related questions from a message based perspective. He has published articles in Argumentation & Advocacy and in proceedings from the Conference on Argumentation.

Tammy Vigil is an Assistant Professor at Boston University's College of Communication. Her research interests include political communication, rhetoric, and popular culture.

Susan Buehler served as a graduate research assistant on the 1996 Ford Foundation grant project that started DebateWatch. She currently works as a part-time administrator for the University of Kansas.

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