Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV by Alan Schroeder

By Alan Schroeder

Drawing on his personal event as an award-winning reporter and television manufacturer and during illuminating interviews with newshounds and manufacturers who've labored on presidential debates, Alan Schroeder sheds new gentle on each debate from 1960 to the current. From the choice of questioners to the digital camera angles, from problems with make-up to lights and level set, Schroeder indicates how judgements are made that impression each point of what the viewers perceives. Presidential Debates: 40 Years of High-Risk TV takes readers on a desirable behind the scenes travel, drawing close the debates in the framework of the basic steps to which television manufacturers adhere: preproduction, creation, and postproduction. Calling upon behind-the-scenes tales from seven crusade seasons, Schroeder illustrates how the reside section of the debates, faraway from diminishing dramatic strength, raises our anticipation -not least due to viewer interest to monitor one candidate make a grave blunders and move down in flames. </I>Presidential Debates</I> illuminates such information as: · the frilly makes an attempt to offset top discrepancies among applicants, reminiscent of the "belt buckle compromise" among Carter and Ford mandating the peak of the candidates´ respective podiums; · the entire tale in the back of debate moderator Bernard Shaw´s notorious query to Michael Dukakis approximately his spouse being hypothetically raped and murdered; and · the calculation and faux-spontaneity of Reagan´s influential quip, "There you cross again," which successfully disregarded Carter´s pointed accusations approximately well-being care. With innumerable behind-the-scenes tales in regards to the applicants, their advisers, the on-air correspondents, the manufacturers, and different behind the scenes lore, Schroeder illustrates how, like several kinds of tv, debates mix artifice with fact. An strange mixture of civics and convey biz, the presidential debates are printed the following as either rigorously scripted rituals and possibilities for the definitely unforeseen.

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Extra info for Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV

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Four years later, handlers for then-incumbent President Carter co-opted this tactic for themselves. According to a  prenegotiation strategy memorandum, “The presidential seal should be on his [Carter’s] podium. ”71 In recent years podium design has been fixed by the predebate memorandum of understanding. According to the terms of that contract, lecterns have to be identical only from the perspective of the television audience. This allows campaigns to customize the interior of their lecterns however they see fit, while maintaining visual equality on the outside.

Fearful that even a highly respected national leader could not suppress his bias, representatives for Kennedy and Nixon argued that members of the press would be less inclined to play favorites. The networks, recognizing an opportunity to promote their own personnel, gladly assented, inaugurating a longstanding tradition of journalistic participation in presidential debates. In keeping with the general pugnacity of the  deliberations, a new controversy soon erupted: the campaigns’ demand that newspaper and magazine reporters be included in the debate panels along with TV people.

You said it when President Carter said that you were going to cut Medicare . . And what did you do right after the election? ” The bit that had worked so beautifully in  now came flying back in Reagan’s face. Then there are the debate moments that never were, strategic maneuvers contemplated but not executed. After Mondale’s win against Reagan in the first  debate, Democratic advisers briefly considered dropping a bombshell in the follow-up encounter. In the course of the debate, Mondale would produce a letter the president had written in  to Richard Nixon, a letter that compared John Kennedy’s ideas to those of Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler.

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