Coalition Pushes for No-Cost Air Time for Candidates Forum Would Be Journalist-Free

By Ap | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 7, 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Coalition Pushes for No-Cost Air Time for Candidates Forum Would Be Journalist-Free


Ap, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


If Paul Taylor had his way, Americans would wash down dinner with a nightly dose of presidential politics.

No journalists to dull the image or question the content. No sitcoms for bored voters to switch to.

Just Bill Clinton and Bob Dole speaking in their own words about the burning issues of the day.

And ideally, newspaper readers across America would gulp down similar presidential pronouncements with their corn flakes the next morning - at least during election season.

"These campaigns only come around once every four years. It ought to be a time of national stock-taking," says Taylor, a former Washington Post political writer.

Taylor's vision is hardly about to come true. But his group, "Free TV for Straight Talk Coalition," has managed to cajole the networks into offering a limited amount of free time to presidential candidates this fall.

And two newspapers have joined the movement - offering unpaid space for candidates to state their views, unfettered by journalistic comment or analysis.

The question is whether all this free air and paper will translate into something meaningful for voters.

Will it, as supporters claim, force a more substantive national debate on issues?

Or will voters be even more turned off at being force-fed a dose of politics that disrupts their cozy nightly rituals and stalls "Seinfeld?"

`Hear Remotes Clicking'

NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, for one, fears the latter.

"I can hear remotes clicking all over America," said Brokaw, who views Taylor's goal as "noble but impractical and unfair."

And, he added, it is insulting to brand journalists as bogeymen in the process.

"You can't have candidates saying, `I'm going on NBC tonight so I'm not going to talk to reporters today,' " Brokaw said.

Former network correspondent Marvin Kalb, director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, is less concerned.

"It will make the newspapers and networks seem virtuous," Kalb said. "But by the time the candidates get all this free time, they will be so practiced at what they are saying that whether it is eight-minute statements or two-second sound bites, the American public is not going to be affected."

Nigel Wade, editor in chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, said reader interest - not virtue - prompted his offer to Clinton and Dole. The paper is donating two pages to each candidate to write essays on why they should be elected president. The equivalent in advertising space would cost $19,000.

"Readers have repeatedly told us that the media is getting in the way of the message," Wade said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Coalition Pushes for No-Cost Air Time for Candidates Forum Would Be Journalist-Free
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?