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

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

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

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

Synopsis

Kaid and Johnston report the results of a systematic and thorough analysis of virtually all of the political commercials used in general election campaigns from 1952 through the 1996 presidential contest.

Excerpt

Television and politics have always been bedfellows. From the time there were enough television sets available in the homes of the public, politics has been a part of the content of daily television fare. It is not difficult to understand why politicians, officeholders and candidates alike, have found television's near-universal penetration to be irresistible.

For presidential candidates the attraction developed quickly. When television became widespread enough to justify usage (1952), candidates recognized that advertising their message via television provided several advantages over other communication modalities. First, television reached larger numbers of voters simultaneously than any other campaign channel. A message distributed via television would reach millions each time it was broadcast, an audience that far exceeded the reach of a single campaign speech or other organized event, a draw that was unmatched by traditional print media. Second, the message was under the complete control of the sponsoring candidate--no need to worry about what a heckler in the crowd might shout in protest, no concern about an opponent's response in a debate, no pesky journalist to question or doubt the candidate's words. Third, not just the message but also its form of presentation were controlled by the candidate and . . .

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