Candidates in Conflict: Persuasive Attack and Defense in the 1992 Presidential Debates

By William L. Benoit; William T. Wells | Go to book overview

Notes
1.
We would argue that meanings are supplied by the audience and do not reside in symbols. Thus we would phrase this point as "auditors develop their interpretations from the interaction of symbols" (rather than "symbols co- determine their interpretation"), and "auditors ascribe meaning in part from the immediate environment of the symbols" (rather than "they derive their meaning in part from the immediate context"). We don't see this approach as necessarily inconsistent with Krippendorff's point, though, about the importance of other symbols and of the immediate environment.
2.
Use of this procedure meant that utterances that addressed one of these issues but had not been coded as persuasive attack or defense were not included in our analysis of issues addressed. However, given the purpose of this study--to display the use of persuasive attack and defense in the 1992 presidential debates--we are not concerned by this limitation, although we acknowledge it. Furthermore, we coded the bulk of their utterances as either persuasive attack or defense, and so only a relatively small portion of the candidates' utterances remained uncoded.
3.
Generally similar results were obtained in a Harris Poll ( Taylor, 1992, p. 3) that asked: "What two issues do you think will be of most importance to you in determining who you will support" in the election?
4.
Two topics that occurred in the debates but were not coded because they were not part of the coding scheme seem worth mentioning: foreign lobbyists and the role of women in the Bush administration.

-235-

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