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On the Edge


Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
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The best in last week's editorials from college campuses around the nation

Presidential debates provide chance to decide the future

The 2004 presidential election will probably be one of the most critical in our lifetimes. The winner will have the task of directing the war on terror, shaping our foreign policy and most likely nominating a slate of new Supreme Court justices, effectively directing our nation's domestic policy, as well.

Both major parties and groups such as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and MoveOn.org are well aware of this fact and have flooded America with propaganda for both candidates. Comedy shows, biased news sources and disgruntled employees have tried to influence the outcome of this race.

Rather than relying on those with ulterior motives, students should make their decisions based on the one area where special interest groups, political fat cats and shady political action committees will be barred: the debates.

We cannot allow special interest groups or big money to decide our futures for us; we should take advantage of the opportunity to make that choice for ourselves.

- Kansas State University's Kansas State Collegian

Debates just a 'reality show' that test candidates' image

There's a new reality show airing tonight.

Actually, it's not new. It's been running for several years, but this year there's a slightly newer cast and some fresh, new drama.

And like most television reality shows, it's only partially true to life. Most of it is designed for good TV.

Pew Research Center studies estimate that more than 40 percent of young voters will use the debates to help them decide whom to vote for. For both candidates, this debate sets the tone for the rest of the campaign and could make or break their platforms.

Televised debates are often a contest of images - perceptions based on behavior, confidence and carriage - not ideas, as experts are wont to point out. Long gone are the days of Lincoln-Douglas, when a debate meant that strong ideas were countered only by strong argumentation. Even so, it will be interesting to watch the candidates maneuver in a debate format as some of their strengths and weaknesses will come through in the process.

Keeping in line with our urgings to stay informed and to be active participants in the political process, we encourage you to watch the debates, listen to the rhetoric and wait for the comedians to satirize this pseudo-reality show.

- University of Houston's The Daily Cougar



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