ERIC Number: ED243162
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Past and Future of Presidential Primary Debates.
Ritter, Kurt; Hellweg, Susan A.
Studies focusing on televised presidential primary debates include four prespectives. From a historical perspective, televised presidential primary debates have increased slowly from 1956 through 1980. With the 1975 Federal Communications Commission ruling that independently sponsored campaign debates were news events exempt from "equal time" requirements, the number of presidential primary debates have increased greatly. From the pragmatic perspective of a presidential candidate, primary debates offer widespread and usually free public exposure. News media have become increasingly important to a primary campaign, because commercial rates are prohibitive and voters suspect candidates who refuse to debate. From the public affairs perspective, various sponsors of televised debates believe that debates serve the public interest, and considerable evidence supports this. A benefit of primary debates is that they allow experimentation with a variety of debate formats and procedures that may improve the quality of general election debates. From a television perspective, presidential debates are defined by the television medium. The real issue is whether televised primary debates help or hinder the intellectual quality of campaign discourse and the rationality of political decision-making by American voters. To some measure, this will depend upon the ability of sponsors to devise appropriate formats for primary campaign forums. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Federal Communications Commission; Media Role; Presidential Campaigns; Presidential Candidates; Presidential Debates
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Baton Rouge, LA, April 5-7, 1984).