Are Debates Really Important?

by Danny Griffin

Widener University American Government Student

Television debates were first introduced in 1960 and have played a significant part in the election process.  Voters have felt that they can learn much more about a candidate from watching him on TV than reading about him in a newspaper article. However, some people feel that news organizations downplay the role of debates in elections. An interesting theory behind the lack of “hype” is that it is much more exciting for viewers to discover a story from the unexpected than for people to get what they expect. The author of an article regarding the current presidential debates calls the phenomenon “Hype against Hype” (CSMonitor).

Regardless of media ploys, the debates are a good source of information for voters to inform themselves on the candidates they will be choosing between. Personally, I know that I am not well versed in the finer points of Obama or Romney’s campaign platforms. By watching tonight’s debate I will be able to make a more enlightened decision with more confidence. I am also sure that I am not the only American in my position; debates are a major pillar of campaign momentum. Therefore, many people such as myself will be compelled to watch and develop a better understanding of the upcoming political situation.

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