Media & Debates


The term “media” has several meanings.  Politically, it generally refers to means of communication other than direct speech or bodily gestures.  Television, radio, and the Internet are the best examples of media.  Nearly every technological advance in media—the telegraph, radio, telephone, television, the Internet, and social media—has  changed the way that Americans experience conventions.

Changes in media have helped influence the form and function of conventions, which in turn influences how the media treats the conventions.  This reciprocal relationship is shown by the media’s involvement in the 1968 Democratic Convention, which led to reform in the nomination process and a corresponding shift in media coverage of politics.

Television is responsible for modern presidential debates. Since 1976, major candidates have consistently participated in multiple televised debates for both the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.