General Forum

General Forum

  1. SubscriberSuzianne
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    14 Nov '16 20:04
    The wonders of science and technology have revolutionized the modern American political campaign. Giant electronic brains project results on the basis of carefully conducted polls. Automatic typewriters prepare thousands of personally addressed letters, individually signed by automatic pens. Jet planes make possible a coast-to-coast speaking schedule no observation-car back platform could ever meet.

    Even wash-and-wear fabrics permit the wilted nonstop candidate to travel lighter, farther and faster.

    But nothing compares with the revolutionary impact of television. TV has altered drastically the nature of our political campaigns, conventions, constituents, candidates and costs. Some politicians regard it with suspicion, others with pleasure. Some candidates have benefited by using it-others have been advised to avoid it. To the voter and vote-getter alike, TV offers new opportunities, new challenges and new problems.

    But for better or worse-and I side with those who feel its net effect can definitely be for the better-the impact of TV on politics is tremendous. Just 40 years ago Woodrow Wilson exhausted his body and mind in an intensive cross-country tour to plead the cause of the League of Nations. Three weeks of hard travel and 40 speeches brought on a stroke before had finished "taking his case to the people" in the only way then available. Today, President Dwight Eisenhower, taking his case to the people on the labor situation, is able to reach several million in one 15-minute period without ever leaving his office.

    To cite another example: The most dramatic political trial in our history was the Impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, avidly followed by all the Nation. Newspaper accounts were decidedly partisan- those who wished to see and judge for themselves flocked to Washington by carriage and train. But even if every seat in the Senate galleries had been occupied by a different person every day for the two months of trial, no more than 3000 people could have witnessed that historic event. But In the month of May 1954, an estimated 70 million TV viewers watched part or all of the Army-McCarthy hearings.

    These hearings, the Kefauver crime hearings, the McClellan rackets hearings, the conventions of 1952 and 1956-these and other "political TV spectaculars" have given the American public new ideas, new attitudes, new heroes and new villains. Less dramatic but also important have been the televised panel press conferences, the debates, interviews, campaign speeches and even the political commercials. Many new political reputations have been made on TV-and many old ones have been broken.

    The searching eye of the television camera scrutinizes the candidates-and the way they are picked. Party leaders are less willing to run roughshod over the voters' wishes and hand-pick an unknown, unappealing or unpopular in the traditional "smoke-filled room" when millions of voters are watching, comparing and remembering.

    The slick or bombastic orator, pounding the table and ringing the rafters, is not as welcome in the family living room as he was in the town square or party hail. In the old days, many a seasoned politician counted among his most highly developed and useful talents his ability to dodge a reporter's question, evade a "hot" Issue and avoid a definite stand. But today a vast viewing public is able to detect such deception and, in my opinion, willing to respect political honesty.

    Honesty, vigor, compassion, intelligence-the presence or lack of these and other qualities make up what is called the candidate's "image." While some intellectuals and politicians may scoff at these "images"-and while they may in fact be based only on a candidate's TV impression, ignoring his record, views and other appearances-my own conviction is that these images or impressions are likely to be uncannily correct. I think, no matter what their defenders or detractors may say, that the television public has a fairly good idea of what Dwight D. Eisenhower is really like-or Jimmy Hoffa-or John McClellan- or Vice President Nixon-or countless others.

    This is why a new breed of candidates has sprung up on both the state and national levels. Republican Governors Rockefeller (New York) and Hatfield (Oregon) successfully countered the Democratic trend in 1958 with particular reliance on TV appeal. The list of fresh Democratic faces who understood-and scored on--this medium in 1958 is almost endless: including new governors such as Edmondson of Oklahoma and Patterson of Alabama, new senators such as McGee of Wyoming and Hart of Michigan, new mayors such as Gracy of Baltimore (1959)-as well as a host of others, elected or reelected in 1958 or earlier.

    Most of these men are comparatively young. Their youth may still be a handicap in the eyes of the older politicians-but it is definitely an asset in creating a television image people like and (most difficult of all) remember.

    This is not to say that all the politicians of yesteryear would nave been failures in the Age of Television. The rugged vigor of Teddy Roosevelt, the determined sincerity of Woodrow Wilson, the quiet dignity of Lincoln and the confidence-inspiring calm of FDR-all would have been tremendously effective on TV.

    Can you imagine the effect of televising FDR's "Fireside Chats"? How different history might have been had a nationwide TV network carried Bryan's Cross of Gold speech-or the Teapot Dome investigation-or Lincoln's First Inaugural Address.

    But political success on television is not, unfortunately, limited only to those who deserve it. It is a medium which lends itself to manipulation, exploitation and gimmicks. It can be abused by demagogs, by appeals to emotion and prejudice and ignorance.

    Political campaigns can be actually taken over by the "public relations" experts, who tell the candidate not only how to use TV but what to say, what to stand for and what "kind of person" to be. Political shows, like quiz shows, can be fixed-and sometimes are.

    The other great problem TV presents for politics is the item of financial cost. It is no small item. In the 1956 campaign, the Republican National Committee, according to the Gore report, spent over $3,000,000 for television-and the Democratic National Committee, just under $2,800,000 on television broadcasting.

    If all candidates and parties are to have equal access to this essential and decisive campaign medium, without becoming deeply obligated to the big financial contributors from the worlds of business, labor or other major lobbies, then the time has come when a solution must be found to this problem of TV costs.

    This is not the place to discuss alternative remedies. But the basic point is this: Whether TV improves or worsens our political system, whether it serves the purpose of political education or deception, whether it gives us better or poorer candidates, more intelligent or more prejudiced campaigns-the answers to all this are up to you, the viewing public.

    It is in your power to perceive deception, to shut off gimmickry, to reward honesty, to demand legislation where needed. Without your approval, no TV show is worthwhile and no politician can exist.

    That is the way it always has been and will continue to be -- and that is the way it should be.
  2. SubscriberSuzianne
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    14 Nov '16 20:06
    The above was written by Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1959, less than a year before he was elected President.

    What goes around, comes around.
  3. Account suspended
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    14 Nov '16 20:08
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    The above was written by Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1959, less than a year before he was elected President.

    What goes around, comes around.
    Gee you so bitter.
  4. Dumnonia
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    14 Nov '16 20:081 edit
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    The wonders of science and technology have revolutionized the modern American political campaign. Giant electronic brains project results on the basis of carefully conducted polls. Automatic typewriters prepare thousands of personally addressed letters, individually signed by automatic pens. Jet planes make possible a coast-to-coast speaking schedule no obs ...[text shortened]...
    That is the way it always has been and will continue to be -- and that is the way it should be.
    You might want to consider crediting Jack Kennedy for that.


    Edit: ah well done.
  5. Standard memberHandyAndy
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    14 Nov '16 20:14
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Gee you so bitter.
    Did you bother reading it, or is this just another of your reflexive insults?
  6. SubscriberSuzianne
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    14 Nov '16 20:141 edit
    Originally posted by divegeester
    You might want to consider crediting Jack Kennedy for that.


    Edit: ah well done.
    I didn't want the "conservatards" to just skip over it because a Democrat's name was attached to it. I was hoping some would read it without their bias against all things sensible.

    I was going to wait before the accreditation, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

    The main point is that this was written in 1959. The warning still stands, but we still don't "get it".
  7. Account suspended
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    15 Nov '16 11:20
    Trump would have won even without TV. Radio and rallies would be enough.
    The strangest side in his victory is that he wasn't led by politics and urge to change the country, but simply to take the toy from Obama's hands. Like a rich Russian who buys English footbal club for fun.

    Remeber, 5 years ago, at some party, Obama mocked Trump who also attended the party, with Disney cartoon about Boy in the Jungle, he mocked the businessman because claims that Obama wasn't born on US soil.

    That evening, Trump decided to get that toy, called being president of U.S..

    And that's why this election was funny, not because of populism and manipulation and false promises. We saw that with Berlusconi, Valesa, Chaves, Orban, Lars Løkke...
  8. Joined
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    15 Nov '16 14:40
    Originally posted by vandervelde
    Trump would have won even without TV. Radio and rallies would be enough.
    The strangest side in his victory is that he wasn't led by politics and urge to change the country, but simply to take the toy from Obama's hands. Like a rich Russian who buys English footbal club for fun.

    Remeber, 5 years ago, at some party, Obama mocked Trump who also attended ...[text shortened]... nipulation and false promises. We saw that with Berlusconi, Valesa, Chaves, Orban, Lars Løkke...
    Is Lars Løkke Rasmussen a bad egg?
  9. SubscriberVery Rusty
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    15 Nov '16 15:32
    Could the end of the world be near? Could Trump be the Anti-Christ?
    Just thoughts to ponder.

    -VR
  10. Account suspended
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    15 Nov '16 15:35
    Originally posted by Very Rusty
    Could the end of the world be near? Could Trump be the Anti-Christ?
    Just thoughts to ponder.

    -VR
    Well, Boris JOhnson is spitting mage of Trump, and several british comedians, as well as several right-winded Serbian politicians.
    Perhaps they are all aliens, taking power in strategic places in order to re-terraine the Earth.
  11. Subscriberlemondrop
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    15 Nov '16 16:17
    Originally posted by Very Rusty
    Could the end of the world be near? Could Trump be the Anti-Christ?
    Just thoughts to ponder.

    -VR
    be afraid
    be very afraid
    get your teddy bear
    and hunker down
  12. Joined
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    16 Nov '16 19:11
    Lock up your daughters and lock up your wives. Lock up your back door and run for your lives!
  13. SubscriberVery Rusty
    Treat Everyone Equal
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    16 Nov '16 19:29
    Originally posted by lemondrop
    be afraid
    be very afraid
    get your teddy bear
    and hunker down
    Maiden Gertrude,
    Death doesn't frighten me. How about you are you afraid?

    -VR
  14. SubscriberLittleDonkey
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    16 Nov '16 22:39
    Originally posted by Suzianne


    It is in your power to perceive deception, to shut off gimmickry, to reward honesty, to demand legislation where needed. Without your approval, no TV show is worthwhile and no politician can exist.

    That is the way it always has been and will continue to be -- and that is the way it should be.
    It would seem that the electorate have exercised that power. Tired of being told that they are better off when they know first hand they are not. Tired of being told that they are 'evil' when they don't toe the line after being bombarded with images of drowned infants and being told they are responsible unless they show compassion. Tired of rich celebrities telling us we must do more, after all everyone knows the more money you have the greater the intellect.

    We don't want to be told what to do or how to think. We don't want economists to tell us that everything will go to pot unless we follow their wisdom (thanks for the heads up on the banking crisis!).

    We want a country where work is available and means prosperity not subsistence, a country where it is safe to leave our homes without fear, a country where freedom of speech is valued above upsetting the easily upset. A country where uncertainty is a fact of life and not the latest buzzword, where respect is earned and not expected, where binary is a series of 1's and 0's not a gender identity crisis or a misinterpretation of a referendum result.

    What does a Trump victory mean, what does Brexit mean? It means that politicians have run out of TV, we have perceived deception, we are no longer rewarding dishonesty and we think legislation is needed.
  15. Joined
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    17 Nov '16 00:03
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    The above was written by Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1959, less than a year before he was elected President.

    What goes around, comes around.
    Unfortunately God was left out of the equation. Jesus Christ is sovereign over the affairs of men. Better pay attention. Everything that happens is according to His plan. Just watch and see.
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