Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Presidential Debates on TV

Television became prominent in politics in 1960 when the first presidential debate was aired. Although this media form is still used today, there has been so much that has changed since. The question of the week was, how do older forms of media inform new media markets? To answer that question, I decided to focus on the Nixon vs. Kennedy debate and compare it to how these debates have changed since, and the difference between the use of television then vs now.

Digital media, starting with television, shaped the way for politicians to get involved with newer media and reach a larger audience through these platforms. Television was used merely as a form of entertainment then, but now it has become a way for people to stay informed. The airing of presidential debates became popular because it gave the candidates a way to discuss “face to face” real issues to the public. It also helped the public have a different perspective of the candidates. In the Kennedy/Nixon case, it was a literal game changer where Nixon was favored prior to the debate, and Kennedy ended up winning the race.

All in all, televising debates paved the way for presidential candidates to know that there are various ways to reach the public. It taught our modern mass media the importance of relating/connecting to the information that was being passed along the targeted audiences.

Abramowitz, A. I. (1978). Impact of a presidential debate on voter rationality. American Journal Of Political Science,

McNulty, T. (1993). Television's Impact on Executive Decision Making and Diplomacy.
Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 17(1), 67-84.

The Power of Television Images: The First Kennedy-Nixon Debate Revisited. The
Journal of Politics [serial online]. 2003:559. Available from: JSTOR Journals,
Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 21, 2017.

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