Videostyle in Presidential Campaigns: Style and Content of Televised Political Advertising

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Anne Johnston | Go to book overview

8
The Mediation of Videostyle: How Television and Newspapers Cover Political Candidate Advertising

As political advertising on television has become a more and more important aspect of how candidates present themselves to voters, journalists have recognized that in order to cover a political campaign completely they must also cover its advertising. In the early years of political television spots, coverage by the news media was quite limited. Newspapers occasionally mentioned campaign spots but provided little in-depth analysis of them. The coverage of the political advertising in the 1950s and in some instances in the early campaigns of the 1960s, concentrated mainly on how much the ads would cost, who was using them, and general statements about the growing influence of television in political campaigns. But in many ways, the early statements about advertising appearing in media signaled what the debate for the next 44 years might look like. In 1952, media described (albeit briefly and in short articles) Eisenhower's short question-and-answer spots and reported the reaction of some of Stevenson's campaign volunteers. Eisenhower was being sold in the same manner as "soap, ammoniated toothpaste, hair tonic or bubble gum," according to a Stevenson campaign officer, and this statement was reported not only in Advertising Age

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