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tv   Lectures in History Dwight Eisenhower and 1950s Political Advertising  CSPAN  December 16, 2018 12:00am-1:17am EST

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lot to republican leaders in washington and took don't from folks that i know that he would do that same thing today. transition, g that in the first announcer: kathryns in history," brownell teaches a class about political advertising in the 1950's, highlighting dwight eisenhower's presidential campaigns. she compares radio and early televised ads and examines what components made them successful. her class is about an hour and 10 minutes. >> nothing perhaps captures the popular memory of the 1950's like the slogan "i like ike." this idea that this pin that so many people wore around the campaign of 1952 and 1956
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conveys a notion of nostalgia and simplicity. it really emphasizes this idea of the 1950's as this era of prosperity where america was a world leader and the american people were happy in suburban homes with their nuclear families. i like ike. it's so simple. and it conveys that happiness. this idea, however, is a myth. and it's a political construction. the 1950's in fact was a time wrought with racial discrimination, conflict, intense political and social pressures to conform to a suburban ideal that imposed gender hierarchies and mandated heterosexuality in the law.
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it was a time in which anti-communism targeted the liberal reform impulses of the new deal and frequently anti-communists took away civil liberties. these are all different areas of political pressures in terms of enforcing certain ideals and resisting against those that we will look at next week. but "i like ike" as a political construct shifted attention away from those divisions. and it created a sense of consensus in many ways. again, this is a political construction. and at the root of it was a very innovative and transformative marketing campaign that transformed a military hero into a political celebrity. he used that attention to win the presidency. often we think of john f. kennedy or ronald reagan as ushering in the television presidency. but in fact, it was dwight eisenhower.
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ike harnessed the power of television to win the presidency and to put forth his vision of america and the world. and this is what we are going to look at today. dwight eisenhower brought several important developments to the modern american presidency through his leadership style and his organizational approach. in doing this, he built on a lot of the transformations that we've already looked at this semester. for example, franklin roosevelt launched the executive office of the presidency, and last week, we looked at how harry truman expanded it with the national security state. dwight eisenhower, however, formalized it. he ran his office very much like he did the military. the bureaucracy became a very entrenched component of the american presidency under eisenhower. for example, he had weekly cabinet meetings and he formed the office of congressional liaison so that he could have a formal link to the legislative
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process. this was especially important because throughout the 1950's, the democratic party controlled congress. eisenhower recognized that to get things done, he needed to have a really smooth operation in terms of links with congress. but he also brought this organizational focus to the shifting media environment. and transformed the white house into a production studio. to do that, he worked very closely with hollywood figures and madison avenue television executives and advertising companies to navigate the new mass medium of television that transformed american political communication during the 1950's. so this post-world war ii era is really a key moment to understand the rise of entertainment, advertising, television and hollywood in american politics, because
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television really does drastically change the political theme during the 1950's. so the questions i want us to think about today, as we study this particular period, are how does television change leadership styles? how does it change strategies of political communication? and qualifications needed to succeed politically? and the key question that we're going to come back to at the end of class is, does television revolutionize the american presidency or does it build on trends that are already in place? to get at that question, we need to start by thinking about, what are the trends that are already in place? does television launch a significant break in terms of leadership strategies and communication strategies? so what trends are already in place before the launch of television in the 1950's?
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what does theodore roosevelt bring to the presidency? >> theodore roosevelt brought, like, increased media connections at the beginning of the 20th century. to start formalizing the process of, like, the executive office and the media. >> excellent. >> didn't he also set up the west wing -- >> yes. >> as a sort of source to have the press within the white house, in order to have a connection with them as well? >> yes. yes. again, these are key in terms of he valued the press. he saw the press as an asset, something that he wanted to capitalize on their place, to control, and help shape public opinion. excellent. caroline? >> he also had the fireside chats, that there was already this idea of this personalized president that you -- if every person has, like, a radio in their home, they can listen to them and it's like he's speaking to them, using rhetoric that is easy to understand and not super
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complicated political jargon. >> yes. so franklin roosevelt brings in this idea of the fireside chats. theodore roosevelt creates these relationships with journalists and uses public opinion to launch and advocate for very specific policies. franklin roosevelt takes this a step further. he capitalizes on radio and uses that to create an intimate connection with the american public. i'm going to play you a quick clip just to give you a sense of what this sounded like, thinking about if you were a listener. you were tuning into your radio, during the 1930's, to listen to your president. this would have been what you heard. >> ladies and gentlemen, the
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president of the united states. >> my friends, i want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the united states about banking. the comparatively few who understand the mechanics of banking, but more particularly with the overwhelming majority of you who use banks for the making of deposits and the drawing of change. >> what did he do, just in that very simple opening? >> he definitely personalizes the chat. he uses i, you, we. he creates this personal link between the presidency and the people so that they feel like he's on their side and that they also have a place in this huge bureaucratic thing that he has begun to create. >> uh-huh.
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absolutely. personalizing the presidency. that is so key. for those of you who looked at a lot of critics of new deal programs, how does he bypass them with the radio? if someone doesn't agree with a particular program, what is he able to do with radio? >> he's able to directly appeal to the american people with the radio and bypass, like, say newspapers that have editorial slants against new deal policies and just to work around old institutions that were against him. >> absolutely. that's really key, thinking about the power that this gives. it creates that personal relationship, that intimacy between the president and an individual in their home. and then it also allows him to challenge the narrative overwhelmingly at this time. people got their information from newspapers at this time. and many newspaper editors were
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against the new deal, overwhelmingly at this time. newspapers were more conservative, were more critical of a lot of roosevelt's policies. and so the radio becomes a new opportunity to connect directly to audiences. and if you recall, it's not just radio that he uses. he also used theaters and motion pictures to sell certain programs. he capitalized on the newsreels that would have been shown at the beginning of a motion picture feature. but he also worked with a variety of different studios in hollywood to create production shorts like this one, which promoted the national recovery administration. ♪
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[applause] >> you and you and you, you got a president now. he gave the land a new deal. you hold the cosmo new deal. you, and you, and you, he gave us what we answer. now pay him back somehow. ♪ step out in front ♪ get back of the fence ♪ and give a man a job ♪ give a man a job. ♪ it's the only ♪ ♪ ♪[singing] ♪ you take this message straight from the president ♪ ♪ and give a man a job
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♪ >> you're like a banker who drives a car? >> have a cigar. >> take your cigar and hire a chauffeur and keep a man from becoming a loafer. >> you look like a grocer? >> no, sir. my job is extermination. >> you must give your assistants each a nice weekend vacation. we want you to hire a crowd! hang out this sign. it means no rats allowed. ♪[music] >> what's the matter with you? >> i'm a very sick woman. >> oh. hypochondriac. ♪[singing] >> no bronchitis. sleepitis or any other kind of itis. madam, you will help to end
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unemployment. now, listen to me, everybody. step out in front. give a man a job! you know that. i know it. now, step up and give a man a job. who is president of the n.r.a.? no? i'll tell you. you take this message straight from the president, and give a man a job! ♪[music] [applause] >> so what does this do that's different from the fireside chats? go ahead, brent. >> well, it turns presidential policy into an entertainment product. >> absolutely. >> it's very much, like, the beginning of the whole concept
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of marketing. >> absolutely. excellent. excellent. >> yeah. i was gonna say, it takes -- it's no longer the president advocating for himself but it's normal people advocating for the president, that normal people would want their president and that they are very much for his policies and that he has caused all of this economic boom and all these -- all this prosperity within the country. >> yes. so the focus, the hero of this story, is franklin roosevelt. right? he's featured at the end, his portrait. but he has a variety of other people who are helping sell this. comedian in this capacity, a variety of different celebrities come out for franklin roosevelt to do this. radio personalities, all are selling the president for him. so, again, a different kind of
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production team in terms of selling a particular policy. excellent. adam? >> it kind of creates the sound bite. >> yes. >> so if you can take different snippets of what the guy was saying, it's like give back to the president, give the man a job. those are easy-to-remember jingles. you could put those in some sort of radio advertisement or that just appeals to a more general audience. they're gonna remember that message, whether or not they heard the whole song or not or whether or not they heard all about the different ways they can help. they're gonna remember "give a man a job." >> absolutely. the slogan. so, again, bringing some of these features, advertising at this time and hollywood, bringing them into politics, to sell particular policies. and the only reason you will not be humming "give a man a job" later this day is because you're going to hum the "i like ike" one because it's a lot catchier. >> i thought it was interesting about holding the president up but also using it as a selling
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point. usually when we think of selling a candidate, we think of getting votes. but this time it was getting this people involved in a specific policy. it was helping the common man or middle class man to come out. without you, we can't do this. but with you, you can be part of this grander thing that's helping all america. >> uh-huh. and that is really key when we think about media and new media and the presidency, because really effective presidents are able to use new media to win elections, but then also to govern. to use it as a tool to sell their agenda as well. and making that transition from communication on the campaign trail to communication once in office is really key. and this is why what dwight eisenhower does with television is also really important, because he follows that trajectory in terms of using new media to win an election and then reshape how he sets the agenda, as lucas pointed out. we see a lot of the new possibilities in terms of presenting an agenda, shaping public opinion and promoting a personality that comes with radio and motion pictures.
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so what about television? does television bring something fundamentally new to american politics and to the american presidency? i want to throw a couple numbers out, because i think it really conveys how dramatically television grew and reshaped american politics. in 1949, only 172,000 television sets had sold. that number jumped to over 52 million by 1953. this is an incredibly dramatic growth of a new technology that forced politicians to grapple with presenting themselves and their policies to voters through t.v. screens rather than newspaper articles, radio broadcasts or even these motion
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picture shorts. one of the key things to think about is that this growth of a new technology caused tremendous anxiety and concern. and it's really important to understand that this is post-world war ii, that it becomes so powerful. there was deep concern over the manipulative power of propaganda at this time. and the ways that could be used to undermine democracy and to promote totalitarian governments. after all, the nazi party in germany had a very effective propaganda machine. it's part of how they were able to consolidate power, by limiting information over new medias. so too did joseph stalin in the soviet union. so these concerns about the manipulative power of new media and even old media, motion
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pictures in particular, were really at the core of a lot of anti-communist investigations, particularly the ones that featured the motion picture industry in 1947. the central question that was debated in the halls of congress as a variety of actors and studio executives came to washington d.c. to testify about their political activity was, were they using entertainment? were they using their celebrity for undemocratic purposes? one anti-communist film critic told the house committee of un-american activities that, quote, gam more is appealing -- glamour is appealing. the communists have made excellent use of it for their purpose. they are trying to bedazzle audiences with celebrity.
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this is a question that pervaded national politics. is entertainment media, motion pictures and this new media of television that people weren't quite sure what to do with, is this going to undermine democracy? does it focus more attention on entertainment? and can it be used as a way to advance communism? these were central questions that people had. so these fears of entertainment and propaganda and manipulation are really important to understand, when we see the different ways that politicians grappled with television. some of them embrace television and the opportunities that it had to offer. but overwhelming, in the 1950's, they were very wary of it.
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and the argument that we don't want to manipulate others by embracing advertising, slick sales advertising, on madison avenue. that really dominated public discourse during the 1950's. for example, the democratic nominee for the presidency in 1952 and 1956, stephenson, looked very disdainfully on the medium that sold presidents as commodities. quote, the idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal, i think is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process, argued stephenson. he wanted to use this new medium to perhaps expand his message, to deliver longer speeches, to emphasize his oratory, but not to use any of those slick sales techniques that madison avenue executives were using to sell cereal. he wanted to use this new medium to perhaps expand the message
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that he was already delivering to audiences. and so what he did during the 1952 election is that he did allow some advertisers to create some catchy jingles for him, but he refused to be a part of that production. he said, if you want to do that the way that we did with radio, that's fine. but i am not going to appear in these short advertisements. there's no way that i can talk about a policy in 30 seconds. so instead, stevenson worked with the democratic national committee and purchased longer chunks of time. an hour perhaps where he would go in front of a t.v. camera and deliver a long speech about a particular policy. well, if you're gonna purchase an hour of t.v. time and you have a limited budget, when will that time be? any thoughts? when can you afford that time?
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>> whenever it's cheapest, which would probably be late at night when it's not prime time. >> exactly. when stevenson did appear on t.v., it was late at night when the only people watching were perhaps those people who are committed democrats that wanted to watch what stevenson had to say. so that's really the only time he appeared in these purchased periods on television. and he had his advertising team make ads that, again, reflected radio strategies. i'm going to show you two of them. i want you to think of how these are perhaps more reminiscent of something you'd hear over the radio than something you'd see on t.v. ♪[music] ♪ old mcdonald had a farm ♪ back in '31 ♪ ♪ petitions filled him with alarm ♪ ♪ back in '31 ♪
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♪[singing] ♪ all america loves that farm ♪ vote stevenson today ♪ >> all right. and one more. then we'll discuss. ♪[music] >> ike! >> bob. >> ike! >> bob.
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>> i'm so glad we're friends again, bob. >> yes, ike. we agree on everything. let's never separate again, bob. >> never again, ike! >> bob. >> ike! >> bob. >> ike! >> will ike and bob really live happily ever after? is the white house big enough for both of them? stay tuned for a musical interlude. ♪[music] ♪ i've been thinking ♪ ♪ bob and ike now think alike ♪ with the general in the white house ♪ ♪ who will give the orders ♪ bob or ike ♪ let's vote for hadley and john >> bob refers to robert taft, the other contender for the president in the republican party. and he was the more conservative candidate. and eisenhower was promoted at this time as the moderate republican.
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and so that, you know, makes a particular argument about their relationship. so what did you notice about these two commercials? caroline? >> all the visuals were merely like ornamentation, like you mentioned earlier. these could have just been played over the radio and home, it would have had the same effectiveness. also, it doesn't really feature any of the candidates at all. like facial-wise. so then people watching it might not really make that rhetorical connection. >> excellent. great. >> this might just be looking at things from, like, a modern lens but they're not very good. >> ha ha! >> like from the base standpoint of getting a stance across, we don't know who farmer mark is. we don't know what caused his farm to be bad and how voting for stevenson would fix that problem. that was a bigger problem with the first one than the second
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one. the second one just doesn't go anywhere. it's 30 seconds of, can i change the channel to see literally any other political advertisement? especially that really catchy "i like ike" that seems to be going around that my friends are talking about. >> excellent. >> well, it's a lot like what you see today, like slander campaigns. you're getting nothing of yours across. just bashing everything, what they do, like talk nothing about you. just them. talk about all the negatives. >> that's what's really interesting. you do see that negative approach of let's critique eisenhower and the republican party, so that negative aspect is absolutely there, rather than a positive message about why you should vote for the democratic candidate. noah? >> it kind of seems like the commercials were really just preaching to the choir, because, like, the first one, it was just say, like, stevenson is good for farmers but it doesn't really say how. and then, like, in the second advertisement, where it's trying to compare ike and bob, it
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doesn't explain why. so i mean, the only people that are gonna have their minds changed -- actually, no one is. it's just they're going to see that and have their beliefs either affirmed or offended. >> absolutely. and i think that's really important too, when you think about the democratic party at this time, is that media is a side component. it's clearly not a priority. for stevenson, for the democratic national committee at this particular time. why? where is the strength of the democratic party at this time? why do they win elections? >> it would be, like, remnants from roosevelt's coalition from the 1930's. look back to 1931. they're like, look 20 years ago, when republicans did bad things. i mean, i feel like in the
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modern era, 20 years ago is a completely different environment than now. so it's really trying to hearken back to an argument they've been making for the last two decades. >> excellent. kayla? >> yeah. i was gonna say that you can see the contrast between the democratic party and they're trying to -- they're continually asking people to look back at what we've done. not even what stevenson has done necessarily but what other democrats have done and just linking the party together, because he's a democratic, he will be as successful as past democrats, whereas with ike's campaign it was very much looking towards the future and not -- well, because they didn't really have a great past in recent years to look back to, that they would want to advertise, so they had to push past that. you can see that contrast here. also, just a lack of prioritizing media and honestly, like there's no creativity here, which would make sense, because they didn't prioritize it. that definitely hurt them in this. >> and i think that's really important, to think about, that
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the democratic party had been in office for 20 years. that is a long time to control the white house. and they had done so in a way that built a coalition with very specific new deal programs that gave benefits to voters, that brought workers and farmers into that democratic coalition with all of the programs that we looked at. so they were relying on those structures of economic incentive to bring voters to the polls. they weren't worried about getting new voters. they just wanted to capitalize on the coalition that they had mobilized for the last 20 years. so in many ways, they're using the same strategies in terms of the rhetoric and who they're appealing to, to turn out to the polls. >> on the subject of lack of create "it," one thing i -- creativity, one thing i just realized is both of those ads
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used already commonly known, commonly accepted meters and musical structures that they just twisted slightly. there really was no creativity at all. >> or they tried to build on familiarity rather than bringing something new and innovative. again, i think it's really important to kind of think about that there is no one way that is predetermined of how american politicians will turn to a new medium. rather, there are a lot of different strategies at play. even dwight eisenhower was really reluctant to embrace more madison avenue-driven style. and nothing really exposes the initial thinking of dwight eisenhower like his announcement speech, when he was announcing
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his candidacy, in abilene, kansas. and he turns out to a park in abilene. it's rainy, stormy. and everyone tells him, we've got television cameras set up. you need to go into this barn to deliver your dress to t.v. audiences across the country. and he says, absolutely not. i am going to talk to my supporters here. and he was proud that they came out to support him and he wanted to connect to the audiences that were -- or the audience that was in front of him. and so he endured the wind and the rain and all of this was captured on a camera. and here is what it looked like. >> 40 odd years ago, i left abilene. since then, i have seen demonstrated in our own land and in far corners of the earth, on
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battlefields and around council tables, in school houses and factory and farming communities, the indomitable spirit of americans. looking back on the american record through these years, i gained personal inspiration and renewed devotion to america. there is nothing before us that can defeat a people who, in one man's lifetime, have accomplished so much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, i believe we can have peace with honor, reasonable security. i believe in the future of the united states of america. [cheering and applause] >> what did you notice here? what captured your attention? kayla?
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>> i think if you muted this, and -- yeah. i think if you muted this, you would think that he's out at war somewhere, speaking to his troops. i don't know. maybe it's because we know he's a war general. but the wind and the rain and his hair flying everywhere. and all that. and he has, like, a very grimaced expression. he looks like a war general, which i think is good for him. that's what he was running on. >> excellent. yeah. did anyone know that eisenhower actually had hair until you saw this? ha ha! because you actually see his hair blowing in the wind. later in the speech, it starts raining harder. and he can't really see through his glasses. he's struggling with his glasses as he's reading this speech. robert montgomery at this time is a hollywood actor. and a republican. and he watched this speech and he was horrified. he recounts how he immediately picked up the phone, called the republican party and said, let me work on your campaign with
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you. because you're really missing an opportunity to shift from this idea of a military hero and emphasize that you are a political leader, that you want to be president and you can command not just audiences in front of you but audiences across the country. so robert montgomery asked, can i work on your campaign? and he was not the only one. dwight eisenhower was friends with a lot of executives in new york city that worked on madison avenue, advertising executives. and they also worked very diligently with him to revamp his media strategy. he was originally very resistant to this. he did not want to make television such a priority in his campaign. but over and over again, figures like robert montgomery and advertising executives emphasized that you need to take
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television seriously and you need to see that you can get something across, something meaningful across to viewers by embracing some of these production tactics. and so this is what his campaign looked like that was very different from stevenson's. he had this very catchy "i like ike," and ike more president spot that i'll show you in a moment, but then he also had a very innovative series of campaign spots called eisenhower answers america. i want you to think about what this does in terms of presenting eisenhower as a personality and how perhaps this is different from what we've seen with
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stevenson, but then what we've seen before in previous campaigns. here is the first one. this is the song that you'll be singing the rest of the day. >> ♪ ike for president ♪ ike for president ♪ you like ike ♪ i like ike ♪ even likes ike ♪ for president ♪ hang out the banner ♪ beat the drums ♪ we'll take ike to washington ♪ ♪ we don't want john or harry ♪ ♪ let's get in step with the guy ♪ get in step with ike ♪ you like ike ♪ i like ike ♪ everybody likes ike for president ♪ ♪ hang out the banner ♪ beat the drum ♪ we'll take ike to washington ♪ ♪[singing] ♪ we all go with ike ♪ you like ike ♪ i like ike ♪ everybody likes ike ♪ for president >> get out the banner ♪ ♪ beat the drum ♪ we'll take ike to washington ♪ ♪ we'll take ike to washington ♪ >> now is the time for all good americans to come to the aid of
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their country. >> so this also uses cartoons, but what does it do that's different from stevenson? >> yes. so in this one, it kind of has more of a bandwagonning effect. he even says like it's time for all good americans to come together. it brings up the notion that, you know, you should join in on this party. >> it is catchy, in that it has a chorus that repeats, rather than the farmers' one. we do a lot of 40's and 50's music. and this is very period-esque. it already appealed to the masses and that pop culture idea. >> excellent. that's a really key point. lucas? >> we've already commented on how democrats were looking
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backwards in this campaign and republicans were looking forward. and i've looked at these before in the past. one thing that always stands out to me is the sun rising at the end. it really seems like it's a new day after this 20 years of democrats being in office. >> absolutely. so all of these different visuals. the music, the sounds to it. they all emphasized innovation and looking forward, an enthusiasm. this is something exciting, moving forward. don't you want to be a part of it? >> the visuals were very important. i think, unlike the democratic ads we saw earlier in the lecture, the visuals for "i like ike" are very important for selling the message of the
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advertisement. >> uh-huh. yes. so there still is a critique of the democratic party in here. but the emphasis is definitely on that positive message, that you don't want to be a part of that democratic party, truman, and what's been running for 20 years. you want to be part of the party of the future. >> well, i have two points. first, to continue on the visual point, it really helps with the rewatchability. it's like, i could probably recite not the bob and ike bit, because that was too boring to pay attention to, but the other piece, i could probably recite that from memory after watching it once. "i like ike" has all of those visual subtleties, that i didn't even catch that the first three times i watched that video. i have watched it many times now. but also, it's very
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personalizing and digging into the sort of -- i don't know if this had been explored in psychology yet but it's the idea of peer pressure. i like ike. you like ike. why don't you like ike? you should like ike. everyone should like ike. >> absolutely. you know that, in the democratic commercials, they didn't talk as much about stevenson. but you know the candidate. you know it's about ike, ike the personality is at the forefront of all of the catchy songs, the imagery, the slogans that come together to promote ike the personality here. you don't actually see eisenhower himself appear in this commercial. but reeves, an advertising executive at this time, talked with eisenhower repeatedly and said we need to get you, as an individual, into these short spots. and he came up with this idea about eisenhower answers america. and the notion is that these
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would be 20-second spots. very short. they would have different individuals asking eisenhower a question about his platform, his policies, what he would do as president. and this is where eisenhower was really reluctant because this required him to spend an entire day in a television studio, rehearsing all of these different lines. they made him take off his glasses. he couldn't see. so they put really large cue cards so he could read the lines. they worked on the lighting, put makeup on him to make him look attractive. this is where robert montgomery, again, played a role in terms of thinking about, how do we -- using all of those tools of the trade to present ike here, in a very effective, efficient way. eisenhower, again, was not happy with this. but he reluctantly agreed to do it, because he saw the potential
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of reaching new audiences. he did grumble along the way. one of the most famous quotes in terms of critique he offered was he was exasperated after an entire day of filming all these commercials. he said, oh! why don't you just hire an actor? and it really does kind of foreshadow the changes that would come in terms of who was qualified, how we think about the qualifications for the presidency. i'm going to play a couple here. i want you to think about how you see all of these production tactics at play with this spot campaign. >> eisenhower answers america. >> general, the democrats are telling me i never had it so good. >> can that be true, when america is billions in debts, when prices have doubled, when taxes break our backs? and we are still fighting in korea? it's tragic. and it's time for a change.
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>> and then this one. >> eisenhower answers america. >> you know what things cost today. high prices are just driving me crazy! >> yes. my mamie gets after me about the high cost of living. it's another reason why i say it's time for a change. time to get back to an honest dollar and an honest dollar's work. >> what do you notice in those two really quick clips? >> the big thing i noticed, both clips, they were looking up at him at a very steep angle, which is like putting him on a pedestal, like, hey, please help us, like we need help. >> so he uses a unique selling proposition in this, saying, like, these short spots, he doesn't give. he just gives simplistic answers. he's not giving very detailed, like, in-depth perceptions to it. so that's what i'd say.
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>> yeah. he's refuting the slogans. you've never had it so good is a democratic party slogan. he's refuting them, not in a lot of detail. but he's saying, well, what about the cost of living? he tries to point to specifics to refute the slogan. it's not very specific in terms of all the details that he gives, but it's a little bit more specific than the slogan. so that, again, within 20 seconds, he can try to refute some of the democratic slogans that they're running on. excellent. kayla? >> yeah. i think today, we can laugh at these, because you can clearly see him reading the cue cards, and that very awkward -- it was kind of comical. but for the time, this was brilliant, because it's a person and eisenhower, like, together. and they're talking to each other. it goes one step further than the fireside chats. it's not just personal -- like
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personable over the airwaves. it's personable in person with the candidate and the american people have a chance to directly talk to him about their concerns. >> uh-huh. excellent. and, again, it does personalize this conversation that ordinary americans are talking with this presidential candidate. it also, if you notice, the people they bring in, allows him to speak to particular demographics. women, african-americans, trying to bring them into the republican party. and the timing of these mattered. so while stevenson had purchased longer chunks of time later at night, what the republican party did is that they purchased expensive slots that were only 30 seconds long, that were maybe a minute long for the "ike for president" spot and they purchased those at the end of the most popular shows.
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so frequently, going to caroline's point earlier, about how this fits in with the popular culture of the 1950's, when a show would end and this would seamlessly come on, you're capturing viewers who are already tuned in to a television variety show. and they continue to watch that, because it fits in to those themes, that music that perhaps they're used to hearing. and so what this does is it creates an opportunity for ike the personality to reach out to new voters, and to reach out to perhaps independent voters or people who had previously voted for the democratic party or to emphasize this idea that perhaps you haven't voted before but they're going to reach out to people as media consumers. and that's a word that was used
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in their campaign and in studies of their campaign during the 1950's. this notion of, how can we appeal to voters as media consumers? here is another innovation that they brought to the campaign trail that you can find through the c-span video library that has all of these programs. and this is their election eve program, where you see richard nixon and dwight eisenhower sitting next to one another, looking clearly uncomfortable on camera but they went on camera. and that's the key thing, is they went on camera the night before the election, and they talked about what they wanted to do in office and then the election eve special goes from them to then showing scenes of them. eisenhower leading troops in world war ii. scenes of them campaigning around the country. so, again, it gave that personal connection. the election eve program from 1956 goes a step farther in that
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they organize ike's celebrations all across the country. in san francisco, detroit, and they had cameras there capturing the surge of support that eisenhower had across the country, and it showed it. it linked region to region through this election eve special and then ended at the white house. so, again, it's trying to create a national electorate to overcome different regions and even class and social status through television, trying to build a new constituency for the republican party through that language of television. and for the republican party and dwight eisenhower, it worked. media analysts, after the 1952 election, noted that eisenhower and republicans used this new medium more effectively, to attract a wider range of voters and to bring in new people to
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the republican party. i think that's a really key thing here, thinking about how you can use a new medium to bring in individuals that may not have been engaged in the political process before. they may not be invested in voting like workers are, whose negotiating rights depended on building that new deal coalition, or farmers, who some some of their economic interests depended on these new programs. rather, you're appealing to media consumers, finding a way to get them invested emotionally into the political process. so one of the effect of things that eisenhower does is he brings these innovations from the campaign trail to the white house itself and transforms the white house into a production studio. and this is very literally. they took the basement -- or the
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basement kitchen of the white house and turned it actually into a production studio itself, with cameras. and he had the help of robert montgomery, who went from a campaign advisor on his media strategy to the first television advisor as an official function of the white house staff. and he ultimately -- ultimately eisenhower is researching ways that he can capitalize on television and get people interested in what he's doing as an individual from the white house. and so he experimented with television the same way that fdr had experimented with radio. again, this is an purpose. what robert montgomery talks about in internal memos, he says, fdr was very innovative and we need to pick up from where he left off and take the
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presidency into the next chapter with television. he has a lot of different tactics that he introduces. in 1954, there is the first tell advised cabinet meeting. this is also available through the c-span archives. i would show you a clip, but it is incredibly muddled. i think that shows how it is not as effective. eisenhower was really reluctant to have a televised cabinet meeting but his press secretary said that this is a great opportunity to, like radio before, james haggerty, his press secretary said that television allows you to go to the people. quote, and go directly to them without them having to read warped and slanted stories by the press. so, again, that same way of using a new medium to bypass critical coverage in the press
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and allow eisenhower to connect directly to viewers. so he tries a tell advised cabinet meeting. but the issue with the televised cabinet meeting is that it was incredibly scripted, as you can imagine. they set up cameras and people had scripts that they were literally reading. and it was clear that this was scripted, so yes, they talked about the issues of the day, foreign policy and economic challenges, but they did so in a way that didn't seem like it was actually a fly on the wall where you were seeing these policy discussions. rather, it was just another opportunity to bring other figures of the presidential administration into the media eye to talk about policy. he also had the first televised press conference and this is a tradition that has become ingrained in the presidency ever since then. but, again, he had reporters. it was televised but not televised live. he had reporters come in, ask certain questions of eisenhower. but at the end of the day, james haggerty and robert montgomery
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were able to edit and to cut what they didn't like from this press conference. and so some people celebrated these innovations as democracy in action. others lamented that it was white house censorship and news management and that this was just another form of manipulation. perhaps the biggest innovation that dwight eisenhower brings with television to the office of the presidency is the tradition that still persists to this day. that is the idea of sitting at his desk and giving an address about a national crisis as it unfolded. i want you -- i'm going to play this quick clip of an address that he delivers during the little rock crisis when the
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segregationist, who did not want to integrate schools in little rock, refused to allow african-american students to enroll in their high school. and so ultimately, because brown v. board had just recently been passed, dwight eisenhower decided that it was his role as president to enforce the brown v. board decision and send federal troops to little rock to ensure that these african-american students could enroll and to integrate the high school in little rock. and he delivers this address during this moment of national crisis, during this moment in which he had just sent federal troops to the south to implement a national law or a decision that had been handed down by the supreme court. so think about the controversies we've looked at, these debates over race and federal authority
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versus states' rights and how they've embroiled american politics over the previous century. it's this moment of crisis. and he uses television to frame what's happening, as it is unfolding. this, again, i want you to think about how this is different from the newsreels and the fireside chats that franklin roosevelt used. >> in the white house, in washington, d.c. we present a special address by the president of the united states, dwight d. eisenhower. mr. eisenhower discusses the integration problem at little rock, arkansas. ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. >> good evening, my fellow citizens. for a few minutes this evening, i should like to speak to you about the serious situation that has arisen in little rock. to make this talk, i have come to the president's office in the
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white house. i could have spoken from rhode island, where i have been staying recently, but i felt that in speaking from the house of lincoln, and of wilson, my words would better convoy both the sadness i feel and the action i was compelled today to make, and the firmness with which i intend to pursue this course until the orders of the federal court at little rock can be executed without unlawful interference. in that city, under the leadership of demagogic extremists, disorderly mobs have deliberately prevented the carrying out of proper orders from a federal court. local authorities have not eliminated that violent opposition. and under the law, i yesterday issued a proclamation calling upon the mob to disperse.
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this morning, the mob against gathered in front of the central high school of little rock. obviously for the purpose of again preventing the carrying out of the court's order relating to the admission of negro children to that school. whenever normal agencies prove inadequate to the task and it becomes necessary for the executive branch of the federal government to use its powers and authority to uphold federal courts, the president's responsibility is inescapable. in accordance with that responsibility, i have today issued an executive order directing the use of troops under federal authority to aid in the execution of federal law at little rock, arkansas. this became necessary when my proclamation of yesterday was not observed.
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and the obstruction of justice still continues. >> so what does he do here? what power does this give him? caroline? >> so he, as the executive, shows that he is listening to what's happening around the country and he's, like, the first one to, you know, have a stake in it. he talks about the executive order that he makes. of course, the supreme court subsequently enforced, like, the brown decision. but as the executive, he's showing, like, yes, i am the figure that represents america and i'm here talking about this first. i think that premise is really interesting and important. >> excellent. katelyn? >> i was going to say he shows very clear executive power in this moment, that i am the president of the united states and you will obey this executive order that i am trying to enforce
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because of a supreme court decision. this is how our laws work. but also, he doesn't directly call out -- he called out, like, the police there in little rock.
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