Panel Discussion on US elections

There will be a panel discussion on the presidential elections in the USA on Wednesday 29th October at 12.30 p.m. in Lecture Theatre 2 at UOM.

The panellists will include:
– Craig White, First Secretary / Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy
– Vijay Makhan, Former Diplomat

The moderator will be Roukaya Kasenally

This will be an interesting presentation / debate 6 days before the elections (American citizens will vote on 4th Nov) as well as a good follow-up to the series of Digital Video Conferences which were organised recently by the US Embassy.

To put you in the picture, the latest DVC which took place on the 22nd October addressed the following issues inter alia:
– the Electoral College system (there is no direct vote for the candidates; instead votes vote for Electors who pledge to vote for a ticket. Read this for a quick explanation)
– the coverage of the elections by the mainstream media and alternative media (with a regression in mainstream media coverage and, conversely, a lot of internet resources including former mainstream journalists publishing information on their websites)
– the sidelining of third party candidates (there are 4 other candidates running. Read this for some more info)
– surveys and the Bradley effect, campaign financing, advertising spots, first ladies, participation in comedy shows, minorities, etc.

C. Chan-Meetoo

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3 thoughts on “Panel Discussion on US elections

  1. Hello UoM students. Most of you are new since I taught in the program there. I just wanted to comment on the US elections as an active Communication Scholar and Politician here in the US.
    Neil Postman writes in his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that television changed the nature of politics. We need short ways of saying something appealing and good looks. We no longer need rational explanation of policy positions to get elected.
    Four and a half years ago now, I told my colleagues here in the USA that the Democrats had lost the election when they nominated Kerry as their candidate. They were shocked, but I told them Bush was better looking. I was right. This year, Obama was clearly the better looking candidate, so I told my classes that according to Postman he should stand the better chance. Certainly, it isn’t all this simple, but I do think it may be the single most important factor in any general election for President in the USA.
    There is so much truth to Postman’s concept, that the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, received more media attention than John McCain, the candidate for President. That was unprecedented. But she was by far, the more attractive of the two, and the media is looking for stars to cover, not politicians.

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  2. Dear Stephen,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment here. And yeah you are quite right. In this hyper-mediated world, the mass media seem all set to focus on looks and glossy rhetorics. There’s a nice article in the Times commemorative issue about how big media had to sustain interest through gadgets and gizmos during election night.

    Keep visiting!
    Christina Chan-Meetoo

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