Landmark Television Broadcasts NEWS Nixon’s “Checkers” Speech (1952) Richard Nixon Vice-President candidate with Eisenhower 39-year-old Freshman Senator from California Member of House’s Un-American Activities Committee (Communism) Aggressive Investigations Hero of right wing of Republican party Nixon’s Trouble Nixon was believed to take $18,000 from a group of California businessmen in exchange for “special favors” when he became Vice-President Known as “Checkers” Speech? At end of speech, he said that they did get something- a dog- their six year old daughter named it Checkers and they were going to keep it. Result of “Checkers” Speech Nixon was vindicated Gave Nixon unprecedented publicity Helped win the election Politicians who went on television used it as a political weapon Kennedy-Nixon 1st Debate Kennedy Nixon 1) Prepared for Debate No Preparation 2) Tanned (California) Sick (Staph infection) 3) Rested before Not Rested-Campaigning 4) Light Make-up “Lazy Shave”-ineffective 5) Suit was Dark Light suit 6) Confident Less self-assured 7) Talked to camera Talked to Kennedy (JFK contrasted with background Nixon didn’t) Nixon’s Painful Lesson Image is everything “It’s not what you say, but how you look” John F Kennedy Assassination (1963) 70 hours of uninterrupted, noncommercial television coverage in November 1963 1) Kennedy’s Assassination 2) Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony 3) Kennedy’s body lying in state in Washington D.C. 4) Ruby killing Oswald 5) Kennedy’s funeral How did coverage effect television? Due to the continuous coverage television replaced newspapers as the nation’s primary source of information Cronkite’s Vietnam (1968) Walter Cronkite Veteran newsman Anchor for CBS Evening News “The most trusted man in America” Cronkite’s Criticism February 27, 1968 After witnessing Tet Offensive, Cronkite blamed the government and military for misleading the public. Fighting an unwinnable war at the expense of “American lives and dignity” Cronkite’s Advice to Johnson Due to the military stalemate, Cronkite said the only way out is to negotiate peace. (It will take five more years to do so) Cronkite’s Denouncement Effect Johnson decided not to run for re- election Cronkite and television had power to sway public opinion and/or strengthen it Johnson said: “ If I lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America” Nixon and Watergate (1972-74) June 17, 1972 A break-in at George McGovern’s Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. “Burglars” connected to Nixon Television and Radio dramatized testimony Nixon and his administration were seen as conniving, distrustful, profane and corrupt. Television’s Role in Watergate All three networks covered the Watergate hearings in entirety Magnified the crimes to the public’s eye Publicized evidence: Oval Office tapes, Presidential aides, friends were subpoenaed Caused the Fall of Nixon 2000 Presidential Election The Candidates George W Bush (R) Al Gore (D) In the closest election in history, a winner wasn’t determined until Supreme Court ruled in Bush’s favor (5-4) on December 12, 2000. How the Media lost Broadcast networks had engaged in a “collective drag race on the crowded highway of democracy.” (Independent CNN report) Haste to be the first to report results had led them to faulty reporting. Florida was first called as a Gore state, then a Bush state, then too close to call. U.S. Supreme Court finally decided election.
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