Political communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson appeared on Moyers & Company last weekend. In this online-exclusive portion, Jamieson shares insight including positive reviews of the Republican debates and some Fox News coverage, how audience participation at a debate distorts its purpose, super PAC attack ads that demonstrate misinformation at its worst, and what local citizens can do to fight back against deceptive campaign advertising.
Some notable quotes from Jamieson:
"The point this year that I think is worth making is that the Fox debates have been strong and have held candidates accountable, and the Fox interviews have, as well. We haven't had a chance to see something comparable on the Democratic side because of course we have an incumbent Democrat."
"By permitting audiences to cheer and jeer and boo, [the debates] have created a context in which the viewer at home is not watching the candidate and responding to the candidate, but is instead responding to the interaction between that candidate and an audience... You are being cued to respond to the question and the answer in a way that doesn't let you, yourself, reflect on the meaning of that answer."
"The advantage that Newt Gingrich has had in debates is an ability to play very effectively to the partisans in the audience. I think he is not understanding how some of those exchanges can come off to independents and moderates whom he would ultimately need were he the nominee and wanted to win the general election."
"If this pact [between Massachusetts Senate candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren] works, it could become another kind of solution to a problem out there of third party air pollution."
"At the local level, debates are still... the easiest way for people to gain information about candidates' differences and similarities... If you can get the national position of a party clarified and the members of Congress start to run on that position or alternatively the other side attacks on that position, then your knowledge level about Congress is increased."
Follow Bill Moyers on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BillMoyersHQ