The invention of the television reshaped how Americans receive information about presidential nominees. For example, in the 1948 election, “candidates went about their business unaffected and unconcerned by those five innocuous cameras on the convention floor” (Karabell, 2000, p. 144). The press was there to film the convention and were not particular concerned about it being a show. They were more concerned with the basic logistics (p. 143) and the coverage was “rarely exciting or ‘mediated’” (p. 144). It did not convey anything of real meaning; instead, it just showed ceremonial activities and lengthy speeches (p. 143).

However, in the 1972 election, the power of the television was reaching its climax. The “Democrats gave them a show. The Republicans gave them a perfectly scripted TV Convention,” (Crouse, 1973, p. 165).  The candidates and the parties became choreographed, and the press was under the pressure to keep ratings up, concomitantly that kept revenues up. Crouse states, “That’s why they have correspondents who are always talking to give you the illusion something is happening” (p. 171).  The influence and power of television changed how the candidates, political parties, and the press presented themselves to America.

References

Crouse, T. (1973). The boys on the bus. New York: Random House.

Karabell, Z. (2000). The last campaign. New York:  Vintage Books

 

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