Letterman Lecture Series launches with look at recent presidential election
Topics: Speakers, Emerging Media, College of Communication Information and Media
February 19, 2009
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Elizabeth Ware Packard professor of communications and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss "Emerging Media and the Path to the Oval Office" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Ball State's Art and Journalism Building, Room 175. Hers is the first address in the university's new David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series, named for the program's benefactor and the university's most prominent alumnus, CBS "Late Show" host David Letterman.
Each presidential election year, the Annenberg Center conducts the National Annenberg Election Survey, the largest and most comprehensive regular temperature taking of the American electorate. It also is the sponsor of FactCheck, the oft cited nonprofit devoted to examining the factual accuracy of U.S. political advertisements and claims.
In Jamieson's view, the advent of the Internet and emerging media has changed not only how candidates for public office campaign, but also the very nature of politics itself. As she observed for The New York Times early in the last presidential primary season, it used to be that major manufacturing plants in large industrial cities such as Pittsburgh and Detroit were "de rigueur" stops on the campaign trails of every U.S. presidential candidate. Today, however, Jamieson contends those appearances, while still occurring, are increasingly less important in the overall scheme of political symbolism, supplanted by visits to more technologically advanced places on the economic landscape such as Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Ron Paul and Barack Obama all made the trek to the Google campus in an effort to signal their "identification with the future," notes Jamieson, who also credits YouTube with expanding the range of questions in the debates, making them more memorable by having users submit the questions in the form of personal videos, and making everything searchable afterward. In the past, she says, "if you missed a debate, you missed it."
In addition to the Times, Jamieson is a frequent commentator on the American campaign and election process for National Public Radio, CBS, PBS' "The NewsHour" and CNN. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she also is the author, co-author or editor of 15 books, including "Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment" (Oxford, 2008) and "unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation" (Random House, 2007).