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Speaker to Address ‘Race for the White House’

Dr. Robin Andersen, a nationally recognized expert on election-campaign strategies, will present her lecture, “The Race for the White House,” on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association at Penn College, the free program is geared primarily toward a college audience but is open to the public. It will begin at 8 p.m. in Penn’s Inn on the second floor of the Bush Campus Center.

Andersen, who teaches media studies at Fordham University, amuses college audiences by comparing the presidential election to the popular CBS television program, “Survivor.” As the race for the White House heats up, the pressure is building to “go negative,” and voters are told to get ready for the mud-slinging advertisements on the airwaves.

Pointing out that not all negative messages are the same, Andersen uses ads from previous campaigns and compares them to those being created by the Bush and Gore teams as she explains how and why campaign advertising works. She also explains how “swing voters” are courted through the media and how voting strategies influence the way issues are debated. Andersen also will address why it makes a difference whether presidential debates take place on college campuses or in television studios.

By following the money trail, Andersen makes the connections among corporate donations, election spending and the expensive, media-driven campaigns. She explains what really is at stake for democracy when “soft money” flows into the political process.

Andersen’s book, “Consumer Culture and TV Programming,” is being re-released by Westview Press. Her latest work, “Critical Studies in Media Commercialism,” published by Oxford University Press, contains a chapter on the 1996 presidential campaigns.

Andersen also writes for journals and media magazines such as “EXTRA!” and she appears regularly on television and radio programs to discuss election campaigns and media strategies.

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