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Blog 3: Changes from 68 to 08

When comparing the Nixon campaign of 1968 to those of more recent times, one can see various similarities and differences. After reading the McGinniss book, I have noted 3 main differences in how Nixon’s campaign appeared in the media and how recent presidential campaigns differ.

  • Personal information: In the 2008 presidential campaign, not only did we know the personal lives of McCain and Obama, we knew information about their entire family. During the Nixon campaign McGinniss discussed how Nixon’s wife and daughters were only fixtures of the campaign. During the 08 campaign McCain and Obama’s wives and families received significant airtime. McGinniss discussed how Nixon’s campaign managaer Roger Ailes tried to make conversation with Nixon’s wife after a panel and she blatantly ignored him. In this day and age the idea of a candidate’s spouse ignoring the campaign manager as well as the media is unheard of.  We as voters today enjoy seeing the candidates with their families as well as insight into their personal lives. During the Nixon campaign voters only received him via controlled impersonal events.
  • Elimination of Controlled Events: The Nixon campaign used these pseudo-event panel shows to provide the voters with a pre-packed Nixon. Currently, candidates must make appearances on news programs, the internet, debates, and press conferences. It is impossible for a candidate to escape an uncontrolled event. If Nixon ran in 08, he would had to have regularly talked with the press, the people, and his opponent, without having a pre-planned questions and sets. Candidates now appear on late night talk shows, MTV, and evening news programs, which  set their own agenda and questions. Also town hall meetings have become a popular aspect in recent years to get in touch with people. Nixon’s panel debate was filled with an all republican audience rather than opposition or a mixed group that could disagree with him.
  • Avoiding the Press: During the McGinniss book, he discussed how Ailes as well as other campaign workers for Nixon tried to keep the press out of Nixon’s business. They did not allow any press in during the tapings of his panels. Currently, the media are constantly following the campaign trail and each detail of the campaign is discussed on the news, print media, and the internet. Candidates can now not escape the media’s presence. However, Nixon attempted to dodge the media during his 68 campaign, until the Watergate scandal broke out.

As I have pointed out, since the 1968 Nixon campaign, the media has became active in researching the candidates personal lives, discussing every detail of the campaign,and has made it nearly impossible escape coverage that is in an uncontrolled environment.

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Categories: BLOG 3 Tags: , , ,
  1. mandym16
    October 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I really like how clear and concise you were in your format. It made it easy to read and easy to understand your underlying points.

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