Presidential debates have become must-watch television
The Los Angeles Times - 10/26/2015
“You’ve got so many millions of people watching and so many instantaneous evaluations of their performance, any candidate that doesn’t measure up, it gets magnified in a way that wasn’t true before,” said Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University who wrote a book covering half a century of presidential debate history.
The nature of primary debates, and the audience they attract, started changing when the cable TV networks took over. Instead of the Nashua Telegraph hosting the contestants in a high school gym, and a candidate footing the bill the way Reagan did, the debates turned into nationally broadcast spectacles — and much-hyped branding opportunities — featuring celebrity journalists roaming razzle-dazzle soundstages.