The Rise and Fall of the Televised Political Convention

By Zachary Karabell

A paper by Zachary Karabell, fall 1997 fellow, traces the history of the broadcast presidential conventions and builds a case for the proposition that the parties and the networks together have brought the conventions to a low ebb that does a disservice to voters. Karabell describes three phases of the broadcast conventions: 1952–1968, when they were “shared political events”; 1972–1988, when they became “stage-managed events”; and 1992–1996 when they were “over-mediated” by both the candidates and the networks.

Download the paper (PDF).