Television has been influential in the United States presidential elections since the 1960s.


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Television has been influential in the United States presidential elections since the 1960s. The influence has been negative as it has proved to favor the election of individuals based on image and not on issues and therefore it has made the presidential elections unfair to all the participants. According to source B, on April 1992, Bill Clinton while campaigning for the presidential seat discussed his underwear with the American people and this is a clear indication that the television has made politics an image based concept rather than issues as the excerpt from the source dictates “because of television’s celebrity system, Presidents are losing their distinctiveness as social actors and hence are often judged by standards formerly used to assess rock singers and movie stars”.

Source C, on the other hand, is of the same perception challenging the effectiveness of the television on the presidential elections. The source discusses Theodore white lamentations that president John F. Kennedy. White claims that President Kennedy was elected based on his image rather than what he had to offer. According to White, people who listened to the debate on radio scored it a draw for the two aspirants, but the difference came in the television he crushed Nixon. White believes that “Kennedy benefited because his image on television was “crisp”; Nixon’s—light-coloured suit, wrong makeup, bad posture—was “fuzzed.”

According to source F, the televisions have made a negative impact on the election of the presidency. It has not been a fair process as the questions asked to make the rest of the candidates to be more defensive on what their opponents have said rather than concentrating what they could deliver. The source states that “Since the next candidate would then be asked another question altogether, it was an act of rhetorical contortion for one man to address himself to what one of his rivals had said”. It is, therefore, true and valid to say that the television has damaged the once flat ground for political competition to favoring some candidates and thereby affecting the presidential elections.


Hart, Roderick P., and Mary Triece, “U.S. Presidency and Television.” Available at

Koppel, Ted. Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.

Menand, Louis, “Masters of the Matrix: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Culture of the Image.” The New Yorker, January 5, 2004.

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