French Communicator Joseph Daniel and PBS host Alex Heffner to Debate American Presidential Race from a Global Perspective

On the Super Tuesday (March 1, 2016) Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernard Sanders et al. will do the most important battle of the primary season.  Two heavyweight communicators, one American (Alex Heffner) and the other French (Joseph Daniel), will discuss at Purdue University the main differences and few similarities between the US and French presidential electoral systems and campaigning styles. They will help the Purdue faculty and students better understand what is at stake using a global perspective  The meeting will start at 10:30 in LWSN 1142. (Seating is limited, so come early if you are in town).

The two experts will share their thoughts on the mechanics, messages, and money in the 2016 presidential nominating contest. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Joshua Scacco, Assistant Professor of Political Communication at Purdue University. Dr. Daniel’s presence at Purdue was made possible by a project on Global Communication I lead, which is supported by a Global Synergy Grant awarded by the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue. Dr. Nichols Rauh, in the School of Culture and Languages, made the initial contact and is part of the co-hosting process.

The discussion will bring a much needed  global dimension to understanding a process that at times seems so arcane to non-Americans or even to some born and bred Americans. It will delve into issues such as:

  • What are the European/French perceptions of the American electoral process in general and of the presidential candidates in particular internationally? How does the US presidential election process in general and this particular race, of 2016, look like from France and Europe? What does this tell us about the influence and strength of American democracy?
  • How do the main legal standards for the conduct of campaigns and elections in France compare those in the US?
  • What do candidates emphasize in French campaigns (policy, personality, etc.) and why do the US candidates work toward similar or dissimilar issues
  • What foreign and domestic policy issues matter the most in France? How do they resemble or not US issues and what does his tell us about the distance between the US and continental European political models?
  • How do the communication styles of political candidates from the two nations differ? Why? What does this tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems? 
  • How and why do money matter in US politics and how does this compare to the French situation? What does this tell us about the future of American democracy?
  • What do French voters look for in political candidates? What is the role of a candidate’s personal life (family, hobbies, activities) in the popular appeal of a presidential candidate?
Joseph Daniel
Joseph Daniel

The two guests bring a wealth of experience and keen insights to the table. The French expert, Dr. Joseph Daniel, is a former professional governmental and later a public relations executive with global interests. He served as head of the French prime minister’s information service, as a vice-president for communication at the Total oil company, and as a member of the French equivalent of the US FCC – The National Council for Audio Visual Media. He is the author of several books, the most recent one a very well-received volume on French presidential rhetoric and communication strategies – The Presidential Word.

Alexander Heffner
Alexander Heffner

Mr. Heffner is a journalist, most recently the host of the PBS show Open Mind and is actively involved in civic education. His interests focus on the explaining the evolution of American political from the classics to the  Millenials.His work has been featured in Variety, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, New Hampshire Magazine and on NY1, CNN, C-SPAN, HuffPost Live and BBC, among other media outlets. His essays, reviews, and op-eds have appeared in Reuters, RealClearPolitics, Fortune, The New York Times, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, andThe Root, among other publications.

Dr. Daniel will continue his visit for two more days, visiting an undergraduate course (Rhetoric in the Western World), meeting with the C-Span Archive director and staff, meeting and exploring common interests with the Brian Lamb School of Communication faculty and meeting and discussing current affairs and French cultural trends with the French Department.

His visit is another opportunity and signal of Purdue’s forward-looking strategy to internationalize its research, education, and cultural reach.

For details, feel free to contact me. Drop a note below or use the contact page.

La Parole Presidentielle - Joseph Daniel
La Parole Presidentielle – Joseph Daniel

Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei – Professor of Communication at Purdue University – studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei’s teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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