What the media TELLS you about the debate WILL have a bigger impact then the debate
Here's a little tip before you watch the debate tonight - and before you watch the corporate media's reaction to the debate tonight. What you see in the debate tonight will have little influence on what you take away from the debate. But what the media TELLS you that you saw in the debate WILL have a huge effect. A new study out of Ohio State University shows that viewers of Presidential debates are more affected by the frame in which the media puts the debates than we are by the actual performance or words of the debaters themselves. To figure out how this works, researchers showed young Americans clips from the 2004 and 2008 Presidential debates. The viewers were then given media coverage of the debates to read. One group was given coverage focused strictly on policy - like why each candidate took the position they took - what effect those policies would have on the nation, and so on - the important stuff we as Americans should be getting from the debates. The other group of viewers was given media coverage that framed the debate as a sporting event - which candidate won, who appealed better to what bloc of voters, and so on - the political horserace stuff. After all that - the debate viewers were then asked to describe the debate as if they were telling a friend what happened.