By Austin Ferguson
CORRECTION: Rider University’s COM-390 course is titled “The Making of the President 2020,” a special topics class in communications, not the political science course “The American Presidency.”
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, a Rider University lecture on the American presidency and various communication styles was featured on C-SPAN3.
The hour-long lecture was a segment of C-SPAN3’s “American History TV,” a series that C-SPAN started in 2011 to spotlight events, testimonies and discussions about American history during the channel’s weekend programming.
The lecture was a previously-recorded Zoom session of the COM-390 course “The Making of the President 2020,” a special topics course in communications taught by Professor of communications Myra Gutin.
Indicated by the class title, the featured class from Sept. 14 discussed American presidents, specifically talking about their different styles and tactics in communicating with the general public and aired twice on C-SPAN3 on Oct. 17 and three more times prior to the night of the presidential election.
Gutin started off the class with a quick but effective comment on the state of the 2020 election, referring to the presentation’s visual title of “The Making of The President 2020” as “The political circus of the century.”
Gutin’s talk included the “effectiveness of presidential communications based on… vision, charisma, pragmatism, consensus-building, credibility, luck and speaking ability,” according to C-SPAN’s synopsis on the lecture.
Starting with Theodore Roosevelt, the class session, titled by C-SPAN as “Presidents and Campaign Communications Since 1900,” discussed communication techniques both during presidential campaigns and their time in office. The class went on to focus on modern presidential campaigns and speaking patterns in relevance to their effectiveness as communicators, even touching on the recent President-elect of the United States Joe Biden’s imperfect speech patterns giving him a sense of relatability to the voting public, likening him to former President George W. Bush.
Gutin finished the session with her take on what she felt was an advantage that the now president-elect Biden had over incumbent President Donald Trump, comparing Trump’s public speaking abilities to 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton is a good speaker, she is very articulate, Trump not as much… it’s been said if Joe Biden has one thing going for him, it is that he is likeable,” Gutin said.
The lecture was the fifth time Gutin has been featured in C-SPAN programming, having made four previous appearances talking about the First Ladies of the United States, with a focus on Barbara Bush. The class was the first time a Rider University class or event was featured on C-SPAN, according to its video library.
The entire hour-long lecture is available to view on C-SPAN’s video library at CSPAN.org.