Web Extra: Analyzing Debates and Ads in the Election’s Final Stretch

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In web-only clips, Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Marty Kaplan analyze the 2012 presidential debates, as well as the process and messaging behind campaign ads.

First, Jamieson and Marty Kaplan assess how the 2012 debates — and their moderators — served and failed the public.

Next, Jamieson and Kaplan discuss micro-targeting and misinformation in 2012 campaign ads, and the responsibility of local TV stations to put their audiences’ interests above campaign cash.


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  • http://twitter.com/zinzinzor Sylvia Scarletti

    The women were better as moderators. Panel didn’t work very well during last prez election. Agree w/Kaplan re: interviewer who fact checks as he/she interviews candidate. H-J wrong. Russert was a sell-out and a phony. H-J doesn’t live in real world. Sunday shows are terrible. I haven’t watched them in years. In fact, I think of them as “Meet The Republicans (and John McCain), This Week with the Repubs and Face the Republicans (and John McCain). Chris Hayes’ “UP” is great. He has real people on his panels, not the usual petrified dinosaurs and he talks about real issues like global warming, gun deaths in U.S, etc. Melissa Harris-Perry is great, too, for the same reasons. Most people who are trying to figure out the score don’t watch the Sunday corporate media shows anymore. In fact, there’s a very funny blog that interprets them for us so we don’t have to watch.
    How does H-J know what Romey really will do about abortion? He’s taken every position. She is very negative toward the president and very positive toward Romney.

  • Jonakron

    I always loved Marty Kaplan and used to listen to him on the now defunct Air America, sigh…. He is insightful and knowledgeable. Please have him on more often Moyers & Co.

  • Hana

    Same her Jonakron … an intellect with compassion and clarity.

  • Leslie Jones

    Thank you once again for your insightful show. Ironically, I find it irresistible to watch yet most of the time thoroughly depressing as well. Your quest to consistently present the difficult truth is greatly appreciated.

  • Roger Button

    What’s missing in this discussion is the disturbing lack of objective analysis of proposed public policy on the part of prospective voters. Often people that I talk with or read about have constructed a reality for themselves that just isn’t to. That’s why Romney can say anything; because his affinity group will be substantially undiscriminating. President Obama will not present salient facts regarding the real difficulty of governing with an intransigent opposition because it will be taken as a negative by voters who only want to hear that the sun will shine every day and rain will occur only when it’s convenient.

  • MS

    I totally agree with Marty Kaplan about why has the president not brought up the fact that he could not get things done in because the republicans could only say “no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no”. I would prefer not to have gridlock, but if Romney/Ryan get in and we don’t prevent them from getting their policies through, there will be no middle class to save four years later. I personally think that demecrates would have no choice but to use that same play for the next four years to keep the United States from going past the point of no return into a third world rich/poor country.

  • nicksmum

    Why aren’t we talking more about race? An undertone? It is entirely relevant. I live in MO and it is more about race than any other issue. It’s disgusting.

  • Pam

    Jamieson is using the false equivalancies approach i.e. that neutrality and bipartisanship mean support for right -wing proposals such as the Ryan budget plan.She slipped
    in her argument so smoothly that we could be fooled into thinking that this is a quality PBS discussion.
    She is stumping for Romney and downplaying Obama under the guise of “fairness.”It is alarming and,more so , since Moyers seems to be comfortable with what she’s saying.
    He has gotten into the “both sides are bad” meme which de-emphasizes or ignores Repub’s blatant lies,voeter supression and the implications of a Romney Ryan admin for most of us.
    I credit Moyers for including Kaplan in the discussion since he raised crucial points but he was one side of the “balanced” discussion.Moyers will on’y allow people to discuss “fairness” if they’re pro-Repub or critical of Obama or of both.
    I was a fan of Moyers but I’m dismayed at the direction in which he’s been going.

  • QB400

    Another great show particularly the first part … thank you so much! I think you need to expand the range of options which this show so clearly indicates that the two choices are not enough. I think you need to have a show with a conversation between Dachler Keltner, Francis Moore Lappe and David Korten to expand the range of possibilities.
    Face it – Obama bombing Pakistani’s with drones, and Romney/Ryan with their return to the “gilded ages” of just before the Great Depression – both beholden to Wall St. and the Plutocrats is just not a good enough range of choices. Obama is just trying to have a more effective way of imposing a variation of a theme of colonization that favours global corporations … going multlilateral rather than unilateral … however the objective is still the same. Keep up the great work. y

  • Janet

    I am wondering if a moderator deletes comments? Not only are my two missing but several others are also. Thanks.

  • moderator

    Hi Janet,

    I checked in and it seems that none of your comments have been deleted. To learn more about our comment policy please click on the link above each comment section.

    moderator @ moyers

  • Agnes Fleming

    I particularly liked this segment and it gave me a clearer path to working through the noise. Unquestionably, Romney is not the man. Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  • cnmne

    It is amazing to me that Ms Jamieson is presented as an impartial analyst when she has such a clear agenda regarding the importance of the federal deficit. It is difficult to respect her views in her actual field of expertise when she displays such obvious bias in other areas.

  • WOW

    The crop of 2012 debate moderators allowed us to see how the person chosen for that role can effect the information elicited for the voters. There were actually a few moments where the evenings “program” digressed into a true debate. Sadly, our nation’s free press painted these moments as mud slinging, probably because they are keenly aware of who butters their bread. So our debates will become more like our 21st century news programing–infotainment.

  • Allan Stewart-Oaten

    Why on earth was Kathleen Hall Jamieson allowed to rave unchallenged about the federal deficit as if it was the prime – or even a prime – issue right now? As far as I can tell, very few economists agree with her. The formula is fairly simple: when the economy booms, you should cut spending, raise taxes, reduce the deficit and reduce the debt if you can; when you are in a recession, you should increase spending (especially spending that goes to low income people, who will spend what they get), reduce taxes, and accept a temporary increase in the deficit. In 2001, the Bush Admin cut taxes and increased spending (by borrowing for war) during a boom: exactly the wrong policy, with Cheney saying “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter”. Now, we are in a recession; we should increase spending and reduce taxes, directing the benefits at low income people, and worry about the deficit later, when employment recovers.