Watching a televised presidential debate is the closest most of us can come to seeing and hearing the two major candidates present their positions on a variety of issues and respond to questions in a relatively unrehearsed, unscripted manner.
But these debates are still media constructions - and the messages we receive are affected by everything from the lighting and camera angles to the special visual effects like the use of split-screen shots of both candidates, not to mention the format of the debate and the moderator's role. Even more importantly, immediately after the debates have finished the media begin to analyze and "spin" what happened.
Join Cyndy Scheibe, the executive director of Project Look Sharp (Ithaca College's interdisciplinary media literacy initiative), for a brief discussion before and after tonight's presidential debate to explore these issues.
Contributed by Michael Serino