The Great Debates: Background, Perspective, Effects

The Great Debates: Background, Perspective, Effects

The Great Debates: Background, Perspective, Effects

The Great Debates: Background, Perspective, Effects

Excerpt

The great debates of 1960, in which the two presidential candidates appeared together four times over all radio and television networks, dominating also the other news media, provided an unusual opportunity to assess the value of such a venture in political campaigning.

It is not the main purpose of this book to recommend that such debates be either continued or discontinued; but if intelligent future decisions are to be made, some sort of evaluation is necessary. It is equally important to provide future researchers and historians with an overview of this notable event in the history of communications. With these two tasks in mind, I have organized this compilation into sections relating to the background and perspective and to the effects of the debates. In doing so, I have used an interdisciplinary approach as a guide in the selection of articles.

I have had the valuable assistance of my friend and former teacher, Samuel L. Becker, Director of Television-Radio-Film at the State University of Iowa. He has given so much of his time to this project - suggesting contributors, reading their papers, offering valuable criticism, all this in addition to being a contributor -- that he might indeed be named as a co-editor. While he shares in the virtues of the book, the responsibility for any of its failures is mine.

There are many people who, in one way or another, have helped to make this book a reality. First on this list are the contributors. In most instances they have written their contributions especially for this volume. Some of them have offered useful suggestions, many of which have been included. This is their book. I am particularly grateful to Elihu Katz and to Jacob J. Feldman, both of the University of Chicago, for their untiring interest in the book, especially with regard to the section on effects. I am also grateful to Paul F. Lazarsfeld, who read the entire manuscript and provided many helpful suggestions.

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