Friday, May 4, 2012

The 30-Second President

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Little, if any attention was given to political advertising until 15, when Eisenhower effectively competed for the U.S. presidency. Advertising executives, rather than politicians lead Eisenhower’s presidential campaign. Since 15, marketing on television has played a more important and even unimportant role in political campaigns. My views somewhat conflict with those represented in the video and textbook, along with my views the textbook and video contradicted themselves on media’s portrayal of politicians.


I felt the video contradicted itself because Roser Reeves used two completely different ways of describing what he was doing with political advertising. He called what he was doing as, “Partipulation, participation in your own manipulation”. However, he also said, “Commercials do not educate the public, it is not their purpose, but instead to tell the candidate’s position”. I believe Reeves is trying to say that the public is so uneducated when it comes to politics that they will stick with whatever idea is presented more often with the simplest terms. However, telling the candidate’s position is not exactly, in any form, manipulative. If advertising were simply just telling the candidate’s position, then we would not have tons of commercials that slander opposite political competitors. I doubt, however, that advertising is manipulating the public; I do however suppose that advertisers manipulate the facts.


Most of the evidence portrayed in “The 0-second President” was new and very surprising; still some of it was formerly and previously accepted. I was shocked to hear that, “Unpopular commercials do not equal bad sales.” I recognize the fact that I purchase things based upon how I perceive them in commercials. If I do not like a commercial, I will not buy the product because I feel that by buying the product, I then endorse the commercial and therefore I will once again see the commercial. I did not find it interesting that even in the 160’s, a politician standing on the busiest street corner, shaking hands with everyone that passed for ten seconds that it would not compare to the amount of people television reaches. Nine out of ten people have televisions. The textbook is correct in saying television is the “First true mass communication medium”.


The textbook and video conflict each other on a few points but for the most part agree that televisions is a great way to reach an audience. In the textbook, UP CLOSE How to Run for Office, they state, “Be prepared to “define” you opponent in negative terms. Negative advertising works. Emphasize his/her positions that clearly deviate from your districts voters’ known preferences.” However, the video said that negative commercials are no good. Stevenson tried to use negative ads against then president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. People resented the mean commercials against their president, and Eisenhower ended up winning with 58% of the popular vote. I believe that the textbook is just “saying what we want to hear”. The textbook does not really publish that guide for politicians, and they are just showing what uneducated American’s think politicians do. I believe the video is correct in their observation that negative commercials do not work. While disagreements did occur between the book and video they both agreed that television was a great way to induce emotions. “The power of television derives not only from its large audiences but also its ability to communicate emotions,” the video agrees. The video concluded that they could use sayings stored in the public’s mind and it would evoke them. For instance, the use of the little girl not being able to count, and then zooming into her eye and seeing an atomic weapon explode, without even saying a name reminded the public about their fear and needed prevention of atomic warfare. I also found it interesting that the book and video both agreed that it was not the purpose of commercials to educate the public, however they did not agree on what its true intentions are. The textbook said, “Television does not tell people what to think but rather what to think about.” Whereas the video said, “TV commercials do not tell people what to think, rather what the politicians think.” I believe both inferences are correct when it comes to this issue. I do however believe they are not telling the whole truth, they should admit that political commercials are aimed at manipulating the fact to make one politician look better than the other.


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I always thought mass media was not that important. I am current with public, political speeches, and I prefer to do my own research on politicians or parties and their ideas and concerns. I did not realize that over two-thirds of people say then receive “all or most” of political news from media sources. In addition, the majority of people consider television as the “most believable” way of communicating news. The American public must realize that politicians depend on them being uneducated and only judging a candidate on their 0-second commercial. Not until the public educates themselves, will there be any major changes in our politicians.





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