Propaganda campaign TV debates



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In 1960, the first presidential debate was introduced on TV. Candidates John F.  Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were debating the major issues of the day.  Kennedy was informative yet he showed affection and emotion towards the problems going on. He showed that he cares about it by using personal expression and emotion.  Kennedy was more successful because he used a balance of emotion and a  good understanding of the issue.

Nixon also provided a clear point of view on this issue.  Nixon agreed with Kennedy on the important issues but differed in how to solve them.   Nixon was not as emotional as Kennedy. It is not a requirement to be emotional on TV but most people vote by feelings, so the candidates show affection in order to win votes. The advantages of TV are that more people are available to watch them debating instead of  being there in person to watch. The disadvantage is that the people judge the candidates by their appearance.  Before TV citizens used radio to listen to the President and Presidential candidates on radio.

By using glittering generalities the voters began to feel good about electing Kennedy.  Kennedy was very emotional  some of the generalities where when he spoke saying he wasn’t satisfied. Kennedy was speaking about many situations going on in America; important situations to the people. When Kennedy spoke about the food and the economy, how the prices were too high he demonstrated that he  wanted to make a change to this economic problems and make America better.

Kennedy used guilt by association as  he tried to connect Nixon to the present problems.  Nixon had been the Vice President and so was associated with Eisenhower.  He implies that Nixon has shared power over the last 8 years and there hadn’t been enough progress. He says: “I’m not satisfied, as an american with the progress that we are making”.

On the other hand Nixon applied the strategy of “coat-tailing” by making himself look good using the popularity of Eisenhower.  A saying  in the past election was “We Like Ike!” and many people did like him.  He expects the votes, because he thinks he has more experience and more detailed ideas.  On TV he tries too hard too hard to be informative and so it is less effective.

The debate in 1960 was taken more seriously. Candidates didn’t insult each other during the debates. They had great manners and values.   They showed respect by  waiting for their turn to talk they didn’t interrupt their speaking time. The debates were informative, showing issues going on and how to work it out to make United States better.  From the first TV debate it is clear that citizens demand more than information; they want emotions and personality.  However if you look at our present situation then we have different extreme; too much disrespect and emotion and not enough information.