Political Campaign Debate (summary of reading)

Political Campaign Debate (summary of reading) - Political...

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Political Campaign Debate In Brief A) The primary goal of this paper: to provide a thorough review of the research that has been conducted surrounding televised campaign debates. B) Basic function of debate a) It reaches large audience, more than any other single campaign event. b) It serves as the “focal points” for our general election campaigns, provide voters their most convenient and direct access to the candidates and offer a capsule summary of campaign issues at the very time when the largest numbers of citizens begin following the campaign in earnest. Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Televised Campaign Debates A) Democratic theory a) Evaluate the extent to which debates contribute to a more enlightened and rational electorate better equipped to make an informed voting decision. b) It is generally agreed that campaign debates enhance democracy and the electoral process. c) Through candidates’ face-to-face televised debates that the consent of the governed is most directly sought. B) Agenda-setting a) Scholars have frequently adopted agenda-setting theory to test whether debates influence viewer’s issue salience. b) The findings are inconsistent. C) Uses and gratifications a) Study how citizens use campaign debates and how these campaign messages are evaluated in terms of their usefulness to voters. b) Valuable insight b.1) Top three motivations that viewers watch debates (b.1.i) A desire to learn about candidates’ issue positions (b.1.ii) Compare candidate personalities (b.1.iii) Gain information that will allow them to make their voting decision b.2) Citizens hold rather high expectations for debates and are mostly approving of what these campaign messages deliver. D) Argumentation and debate theory a) There is limited studies rooted in this theory b) The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate, Ellsworth concluded that the comparative nature of debate dialogue prompted candidates “to devote more time to fiving statements of position, offering evidence for their positions, and giving reasoned arguments to support them”. Samovar concluded that greater use of evidence led to clarity in candidate responses and facilitated comprehension of meaning. c) The 1976 Ford-Carter debate, Bitzer and Rueter concluded that “defective” debate format is the principal factor limiting debate argumentation. Bryski pointed that “Ford used
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fewer pieces of evidence and made more errors, but he was considered the ‘winner’ of the debate”. d)
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2012 for the course CAS 892 taught by Professor Dr.danielbergan during the Fall '10 term at Michigan State University.

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Political Campaign Debate (summary of reading) - Political...

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