Unwieldy questions? Circuitous answers? Journalists as panelists in presidential election debates

Frances Matera, Michael B. Salwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated journalist-panelists' questions and candidates' corresponding answers in the televised presidential and vice presidential debates from 1976 to 1992. There were no trends for longer or more complex questions. Question length and complexity, however, were both positively associated with longer responses. Question complexity was also positively associated with the failure of candidates to answer all or component parts of the questions. These findings indicated that the journalist-panelists might be contributing to the verbosity of the debates and, possibly, permitting the candidates to evade difficult and embarrassing questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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