ERIC Number: ED253893
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Jesse Jackson and Television: Black Image Presentation and Affect in the 1984 Democratic Campaign Debates.
Merritt, Bishetta D.
A study analyzed the visual content of the 1984 New Hampshire and California Democratic candidate debates to determine how Jesse Jackson was portrayed by television. The New Hampshire debate was chosen because it offered the first opportunity for Jackson to be heard and compared to the other, more media-prominent candidates. The California debate was chosen because it was the last debate before the convention, and occurred after the media publicity about Jackson's "Hymie-Hymietown" remark and controversial statements made by Louis Farrakhan. Using videotapes and typed transcripts from the two debates, each camera shot of Jesse Jackson as the central speaker was numbered and timed, resulting in 38 shots for analysis. Among the elements examined were shot length and type, camera movement and angle, reaction shots, and the speaker's eye contact with the camera. The analysis indicated frequent "shoulder" (mid-chest to top of head) shots, framed in the center, which made Jackson's image appear smaller; only one reaction shot of black persons in the audience; numerous distant and downward angle shots; and a poor background color for a dark-skinned speaker. Although Jackson was handicapped with poor shots, numerous cuts, and poor frame balance during the New Hampshire debate, three post-event polls conducted among Democrats reported Jackson the choice of 13% of the sample (as against 11% for Glenn and 51% for Mondale). The only positive difference between the two debates was the camera treatment or good frame balance given during the California debate. After winning 21% of the state primaries' and state caucus's popular vote, Jackson was still given no better visual treatment than in the New Hampshire debate when he was a political unknown. More research is needed on the impact of visual images to ensure fairer, less biased treatment of candidates and to alert viewers to the potential influences and impact of these images. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response; Jackson (Jesse); Media Role; Presidential Debates
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (70th, Chicago, IL, November 1-4, 1984).