This was an essay I wrote in forty minutes about television’s impact on Presidential elections. That source shit is just useless, ignore it. It’s for an AP Class, and I thought it was fitting and whatnot (not to mention I’m lazier than fuck!)

In a modern society where there is more focus on images than issues, one must ask how America got to this point. The answer is simple: television. Throughout mid to late 1900s, television has changed the outlook of the American people—especially in politics. American politicians became celebrities instead of leaders; they focus more on image instead of issues. Television has not, as many think, had a positive impact on Presidential Elections.

Since the 1960’s, television has influenced Presidential elections. Whether from a serious news reporter or a satirical talk show host such as Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, the American people are getting different aspects of their Presidential hopefuls than they would otherwise. In the 1960 Presidential debates—a pioneer voyage in itself—Americans began focusing on the image instead of the details. Too engrossed in the aesthetic differences between Nixon and Kennedy, the latter got more support despite the fact that those who listened to the debate on the radio (instead of watching it on the TV) thought that the two had a draw. (Source C) Kennedy’s victory was not necessarily a content victory; however, it was certainly an image victory. Is this focus on image a horrid development? Maybe not. Dr. Stanton said that “As we grew, we lost [a] feeling of direct contact—television has now restored it.” (Source A) With a rapidly growing country, not every American person can meet the President, the Governor, or even the Mayor. Television has brought civilians closer than they ever would be to the Politicians, but in doing so has also highlighted the triumph of image over content. Had Richard Nixon been a little younger, or perhaps even John McCain in this last election, who would know how the elections would have faired? One commentator concluded that “An effective President must be every year more concerned with projecting images of himself.” (Source C) In modern society, most reasonable people would have to agree with that statement.


To continue, every single Presidential election is influenced by television, and therefore Presidents and politicians listen to the popular talk show hosts instead of the people themselves. A surprising number of people listen to one-sided, politically passionate talk show hosts discussing the disgusting actions of the other side while ignoring their own side. Whether it be a conservative talk show host or a liberal reporter—Americans rarely get both sides, and therefore make biased opinions because of those biased hosts. There is no voice of the American people, no one person represents such a vast and diverse span of opinions and attitudes. Presidents listen to the talk show hosts or reporters that are leaning towards their side. When Cronkite reported that the war was a draw and America needed to get out of Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson watched and concluded that Cronkite was the voice of the American people, and therefore the President should listen. Johnson did listen. Within weeks, Johnson announced that he was “ending the air and naval bombardment in most of Vietnam.” (Source E) Though Americans did not know about how Vietnam was fairing, they and Johnson were still lead to make a decision from a biased opinion. In modern days, these talk shows effect Presidential elections vastly. Americans do not get a clear, unbiased opinion from listening to Glenn Beck all day nor do they get a clear unbiased opinion from watching CNN. These news channels steer the American people from making a fair decision to whatever the passionate talk show host feels. Instead of a well-informed vote, Americans make ill-informed choices for Political Elections.

The electronic revolution of the last fifty years has had a serious effect on political outcomes. However, the television has not had a positive impact on Presidential and political elections. Television keeps Americans just as ill-informed as they would have been otherwise, and even a little more biased. It focuses on image over content and makes the youngest, or most attractive person be more likely to win. In a constantly growing, constantly changing society, the American people do not need to make any uninformed choices in politics, especially in Presidential elections.

That’s it! I hate English! Have a delightful day!

Love,

Elizabeth!

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