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Newton Minow, Craig Lamay to Discuss Presidential Debates

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April 23, 2008 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Newton Minow, the Federal Communications Commission chairman who decades ago famously dubbed television a "vast wasteland" and today serves on the Commission on Presidential Debates, will talk about presidential debates with Northwestern University faculty member Craig LaMay when the two deliver a Crain Lecture Monday, May 5, at Northwestern University.

Minow and LaMay -- co-authors of the newly published "Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future" (University of Chicago Press) --will speak at 3:30 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. Free and open to the public, their lecture is titled "Five Things You Didn't Know About the Televised Presidential Debates."

In their latest book, the authors provide readers with a history of the origins of the presidential debates and argue that -- warts and all -- televised presidential debates still offer the American public the only real opportunity to see the candidates respond to one another directly in a discussion of major social, economic and foreign policy goals.

Minow, whose name has been synonymous with presidential debates since proposing the idea for them in 1960, served as co-chair of the presidential debates in 1976 and 1980. In "Inside the Presidential Debates," he and LaMay explore the legal and personal battles that accompanied the first presidential debates and the impact third-party candidates and emergence of the Internet have had on presidential campaigns.

Minow and LaMay also are co-authors of the 1995 book "Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment," for which they earned the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association.

The popular, admission-free Crain lectures are named in honor of magazine publishers Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. and presented by Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. For further information, call (847) 491-5401 or visit http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/about/conferenceslectures.aspx.
Topics: Campus Life