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Presidential Debates Forty Years of High-Risk TV cover
  • ISBN: 9780231114004
  • ISBN10: 0231114001

Presidential Debates Forty Years of High-Risk TV

by Alan Schroeder

  • List Price: $81.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/2000
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Description
In the four decades since John F. Kennedy first proved how important television could be to successful political campaigning, presidential debates have attracted a staggering degree of public attention. The final encounter between Bush and Clinton in 1992, for instance, reeled in 100 million viewers, and even the first-ever TV debate -- the historic Kennedy-Nixon confrontation of 1960 -- drew some 70 million spectators. Although these contests have been widely investigated from public policy and political science perspectives, Alan Schroeder's book considers them from an innovative new angle: as high-stakes prime-time television.

Drawing on his own experience as an award-winning TV reporter and producer and through illuminating interviews with journalists and producers who have worked on presidential debates, Schroeder sheds new light on every debate from 1960 to the present. From the selection of questioners to the camera angles, from issues of makeup to lighting and stage set, Schroeder shows how decisions are made that influence every aspect of what the audience perceives.

With innumerable behind-the-scenes stories about the candidates, their advisors, the on-air correspondents, the producers, and backstage lore, Schroeder illustrates how, like all forms of television, debates combine artifice with truth. An unusual blend of civics and show biz, the presidential debates are revealed here as both carefully scripted rituals and opportunities for the totally unexpected.

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