Center for Media Justice home of the Media Action Grassroots Network

Debating the debates: Why they mean more than ever

The last presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was watched by nearly 70M people.

Yet the prevailing common sense of the beltway pundit class has been that debates don’t really change the outcomes of elections.

Ezra Klein summed it up on WaPo’s WonkBlog as such:

Wonkbook’s number of the day: 0. That’s the number of recent elections that we can confidently say were decided by debates.

Gallup, for instance, reviewed their polls going back to 1960 and concluded they “reveal few instances in which the debates may have had a substantive impact on election outcomes.” Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien, in “The Timeline of Presidential Elections,” looked at a much broader array of polls and concluded that there was “there is no case where we can trace a substantial shift to the debates.” Political scientist John Sides, summarizing a careful study by James Stimson, writes that there’s “little evidence of  [debate] game changers in the presidential campaigns between 1960 and 2000.”

Real Clear Politics has since shown a pretty significant switch in the polls for Romney following the last debate, which most said he won.

I have an idea as to why people watched the debate, and to why debates seem to carry a new type of significance.

In the groundbreaking work Public Opinion, Walter Lippman argued “Of any public event that has wide effects we see at best only a phase and an aspect… Inevitably our opinions cover bigger space, a longer reach of time, a greater number of things, than we can directly observe. They have, therefore, to be pieced together out of what others have reported and what we imagine.”

Further, also noted by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres in their recent book, News for All the People, Lippman goes on to say “In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.”

So here’s what I think. The current combination of hyper-consolidated media ownership and content, plus the resulting audience fragmentation and growing influence of social media, has made these hotly contested and highly watched debates more important than ever.

Other than major live sporting events and awards shows (and the occasional tragedy), the debates may be the only time we watch something together as a nation.

Lippman’s double-edged sword is sharper than ever in today’s media age.

A wealth of organized and networked voices can echo the stories of solutions, hope and change from communities across the country, and have an impact beyond election day.

At the same time, well-organized lies are exponentially devastating to families pushed to the margins of democracy and the economy.

So don’t sit out of the debate. Watch it. Comment on it on your social media networks.

An organized and connected community can flex its cultural capital and hold candidates accountable to dignity, justice and human rights.

Join us and you can #ShiftTheDebate at Media Action Grassroots Network’s #MediaJustice Twitter Party.

As always, hit those like and share buttons above!

About the Author

Comments

  1. wow, awesome blog.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  2. John Faraday says:

    Say, you got a nice article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  3. Thank you for your article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

  4. Very neat post.Really thank you! Cool.

  5. It’s arduous to find educated people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  6. Very good blog.Thanks Again. Great.

  7. dp vibrator says:

    A big thank you for your article. Much obliged.

  8. “I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thanks , I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?”

  9. Thanks for the blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

  10. A round of applause for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  11. “Thanks so much for the article.Thanks Again. Will read on…”

  12. Very good article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  13. Very informative blog post.Thanks Again. Will read on…

  14. Say, you got a nice blog post.Really thank you! Will read on…

  15. I truly appreciate this blog post. Will read on…

  16. “I am genuinely glad to read this weblog posts which contains lots of useful information, thanks for providing these information.”

  17. wegather says:

    Very interesting points you have mentioned , regards for posting . “Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil.” by Plato.

  18. sokrostream says:

    I got what you intend, thanks for posting .Woh I am lucky to find this website through google. “Being intelligent is not a felony, but most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.” by Lazarus Long.

  19. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  20. youtube mp3 says:

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Thanks

  21. Im grateful for the blog.Really thank you! Great.

  22. Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  23. Say, you got a nice blog.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  24. youtube mp3 says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  25. Muchos Gracias for your article. Will read on…

  26. Really enjoyed this blog post. Will read on…

  27. tattoo says:

    I am not certain where you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or working out more. Thank you for magnificent info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  28. Major thankies for the post.Much thanks again. Cool.

  29. Thanks again for the article.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

  30. I’d should verify with you here. Which isn’t one thing I often do! I enjoy reading a post that will make individuals think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  31. I value the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  32. Im grateful for the blog post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  33. Im grateful for the blog post.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  34. I loved your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  35. mcse says:

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  36. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to paintings on. You have done an impressive process and our whole neighborhood will be grateful to you.

  37. “Very interesting info!Perfect just what I was looking for!”

  38. I just could not go away your website prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the usual info a person provide on your visitors? Is going to be back incessantly to check up on new posts

  39. futebol says:

    Magnificent site. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

  40. “That is the correct weblog for anybody who desires to search out out about this topic. You notice so much its nearly exhausting to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!”

  41. “Muchos Gracias for your blog post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.”

  42. A big thank you for your blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  43. Eth says:

    “Thanks a lot for the article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.”

  44. It¡¦s really a cool and useful piece of info. I¡¦m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  45. Im obliged for the blog. Awesome.

  46. I used to be recommended this web site by means of my cousin. I am not sure whether this put up is written by him as nobody else realize such exact approximately my difficulty. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  47. “Hello there, I found your blog via Google while searching for a related topic, your web site came up, it looks great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.”

  48. Im grateful for the blog article.Thanks Again. Great.

  49. Very informative blog post.Much thanks again. Want more.

  50. A round of applause for your article.Really thank you! Great.

  51. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog post.Much thanks again. Awesome.

  52. Im obliged for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  53. I’ll right away grab your rss as I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  54. Great blog article.Much thanks again.

  55. Im grateful for the blog article.Much thanks again. Will read on…

  56. We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful info to paintings on. You’ve performed a formidable activity and our entire community shall be thankful to you.

  57. Super bet says:

    I am so grateful for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  58. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I assumed this put up used to be good. I don’t know who you’re but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger in case you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  59. I truly appreciate this blog article.Really thank you!

  60. I have realized that online education is getting well-known because accomplishing your college degree online has become a popular method for many people. Quite a few people have not necessarily had an opportunity to attend a regular college or university yet seek the improved earning possibilities and career advancement that a Bachelor Degree offers. Still people might have a qualification in one course but would want to pursue something they now possess an interest in.

  61. Really informative blog post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  62. Great, thanks for sharing this article. Awesome.

  63. Enjoyed every bit of your article.Much thanks again. Want more.

  64. More Bonuses says:

    I simply want to mention I am just newbie to blogging and actually enjoyed your web site. Almost certainly I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You actually have good stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog site.

  65. Thanks a lot for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

  66. I value the blog post.Really thank you! Want more.

  67. This is one awesome article.Much thanks again. Want more.

  68. Looking forward to reading more. Great article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  69. next says:

    I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for novices. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  70. Say, you got a nice blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

  71. Fantastic blog article. Will read on…

  72. Very good article post.Really thank you! Want more.

  73. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  74. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  75. There are some interesting deadlines on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There may be some validity but I’ll take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

  76. Definitely, what a magnificent site and educative posts, I definitely will bookmark your blog.Have an awsome day!

  77. Major thanks for the article.Really thank you! Want more.

  78. Really appreciate you sharing this post.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  79. 3d Logo says:

    I really enjoy the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  80. I have a video post in blogger then how can I put a repost link to that? I have already go to addthis but don’t know how to put the code in its proper place wherein the individual posts are being place with an embed this or repost this or share this. Please help..

  81. Major thanks for the blog article.Really thank you! Want more.

  82. Strap on says:

    “I cannot thank you enough for the blog.Much thanks again. Fantastic.”

  83. renox.in says:

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “Any man would be forsworn to gain a kingdom.” by Roger Zelazny.

  84. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  85. Awesome blog.Much thanks again. Want more.

  86. A round of applause for your blog post.Thanks Again.

  87. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  88. “Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing for your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!”

  89. Very informative article post.Really thank you! Really Great.

  90. “Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!”

  91. How do you create a blog or a blog webpage?

  92. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  93. CCTV colombo says:

    Thanks a lot for the article.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Website by Radish Lab.