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Available Expert - Changes coming to US presidential debate including muted microphones

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Queen’s University researcher Tim Abray is available to comment on changes to the format for the upcoming US presidential debate. Using muted microphones is just one change being made to try and avoid the chaos of last month’s debate. 

Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted Joe Biden during the encounter in Cleveland on September 29, and the discussion ended up in name-calling and insults. President Trump is also objecting to the chosen topics for the debate. 

“Using muted microphones is a nod to civility, which is welcome, but it is too little, too late and will likely only serve Trump’s narrative at this point,” Abray says. “His early messaging shows that he sees this as a further attempt by the mainstream media to censor him. More than anything, this whole debate rules fiasco shows how important consistency is in safeguarding our political institutions. It would have been possible, based on more than four years of experience, to predict that Trump would not play by the conventional rules. 

Abray adds that Biden treating the first debate as simply a debate was a miscalculation on his team’s part. Biden’s performance is too measured, too bland and too by-the-book. He needs to inspire his potential voters to get off the couch and vote. So far, he is not doing that effectively and muting microphones will not help with that problem. 

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Julie Brown (julie.brown@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.   

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