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tv   Lectures in History Dwight Eisenhower and 1950s Political Advertising  CSPAN  March 25, 2020 9:00am-10:16am EDT

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tonight at 8:00 eastern on cspan 3. >> american history tv products are now available at the new c-span online store. go to for more and check it out all of the products. next, from lectures in history, kathryn brownell teaches about advertising in the
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1950s. her class is about an hour and ten minutes. nothing perhaps captures the popular memory of the 1950s like the slogan "i like ike." this idea that this spin that so many people wore around the campaign of 1952 and 1956 conveys a notion of nostalgia and simplicity. it shows the 1950s as an era of prosperity where america was a world leader and american people were happy in their suburban homes. i like ike is simple. but this is a myth and a political construction. the 1950s in fact was a time
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full of racial discrimination. conflict, intense political and social pressures to conform to a suburban ideal. and mandated heterosexuality in the law. it was a time when anti-communism targeted the liberal impulses of the new deal and anti-communists took away civil liberties. these are all different political pressures for enforcing certain ideals and resisting those that we will look at next week. but "i like ike requests as a political construct shifted
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saengs attention away from those divisions and it created a sense of consensus. in many ways again this is 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. and 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 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 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
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he did the military. the bureaucracy became a very entrenched and well focused and executed component of the american presidency under eisenhower. for example, he had weekly cabinet meetings and he formed the office of congressional liaison so he could have a formal link to the legislative process. and this was especially important because throughout the 1950s the democratic party controlled congress. so 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 this shifting media environment and transformed the white house into a production studio. and to do that he worked very closely with hollywood figures and madison avenue television executives and companies to navigate the new mass medium of television that ultimately
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really transformed american political communication during the 1950s. 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 television really does drastically change the political scene during the 1950s. so the questions that 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? so to get at that question we
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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 1950s? 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 setup the west wing as a sort of source to have the press like within the white house in order to have a connection with them as well? >> yes. and again these are key in terms of he valued the press. he saw the press is as an asset, -- as an asset, something he wanted to capitalize on their place to control and help shape public opinion.
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excellent. >> he also had the fireside chats, so there was already this idea of there is this personalized president that if every person has a radio in their home, they can listen to him and it's like he's speaking to them using rhetoric easy to understand, not super complicated political jargon. >> so franklin roosevelt really brings in this idea of a fireside chat. so theodore roosevelt uses the presidency as a bully pulpit. he creates heez relationships with journalists and again uses public opinion to launch and advocate for a very specific policy. franklin roosevelt takes this a step further. so he capitalizes on radio and uses that to create an intimate connection with the american public.
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and i'm going to play you a quick clip just to give you a sense of what this sounded like. again, thinking about if you were a listener, you were tuning into your radio during the 1930s to listen to your president, this would have been what you heard. >> ladies and gentlemen, the 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 mechanics of banking, more particularly with the overwhelming majority of you who use banks for the making of the products 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, and he
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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. >> 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 that 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
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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 -- to challenge the narrative. overwhelmingly at this time people got their information from newspapers. and many newspaper editors were against the new deal. overwhelmingly at this time newspapers were conservative, more critical of roosevelt's policies 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 news reels 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
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administration. ♪ ♪ you and you and you you've got a president now. you and you put shoulders to the plow, he gave us what we asked for now pay him back somehow ♪ ♪ step out in front and give a
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man a job ♪ ♪ he bore the brunt now bear with the president and give a man a job ♪ makes the old heart proud, you take this message straight from the president and give a man a job ♪ you look like a banker. who drives your car? >> i drive it myself. have a cigar. >> keep your cigar and hire a chauffeur. keep a man from becoming a loafer. you look like a grocer. no, sir, my job is extermination. >> you must keep each a nice week's vacation. and i'll need more men to kill the rats. >> he wants you to hire a crowd. you hang a sign that means no rats allowed. what's the matter with you? >> i'm a very sick woman.
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>> oh, a hypocondriac. or any kind of an itis that will delight us. in that way, you will help end employment. listen to me, everybody, step up and get back out front and give a man a job. he wore the brunt, you know that and i know that, so step up and give a man a job. i'll tell you and when i do it'll give your heart a start. you take this message straight from the president and give a man a job. >> so what does this do that's different from the fireside chats? go ahead, brent.
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>> it turns presidential policy into an entertainment product. >> absolutely. >> it's very much like the beginning of the whole concept of marketing. >> absolutely. excellent. excellent. >> i was going to 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 the president and that they are very much for his policies and that he has caused all of this economic boom and all of
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these -- all this prosperity within the country. >> yeah, 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. a comedian in this capacity, a variety of different celebrities come out for franklin roosevelt to do this. radio spokesmen and radio personalities all are selling the president for him. so again a different kind of production team in terms of selling a particular policy. excellent. adam? >> it kind of creates the sound bite. so if you can take different snippets of what the guy was saying like give back to the president or give a man a job, those are easy to remember jingles, so you could put those into some sort of radio advertisement or, you know, that just appeals to a more general audience. they're going to remember that message whether or not they heard the whole song or not or
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whether or not they heard about all the different ways they can help. they're going to remember give a man a job. >> absolutely, the slogan. so again bringing some of these features, the 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 catch ier lucas? >> i thought it was interesting holding the president up but using it as a selling point. in this case it was actually getting the people involved in a specific policy so it's actually helping the common man or the middle class man to come out and without you we can't do this, but with you you can be part of this grander thing that's helping all americans. >> and that is really key as well 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.
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and this is why what dwight eisenhower does with television is also really important because he follows that trajectory. in term of using new media to win an election and then reshape how he governs and how he sets the agenda as lucas pointed out. so, again, we see a lot of the new possibilities in terms of preventing an agenda, shaping public opinion and promoting a personality that comes with radio and motion pictures. so what about television? does television bring something fundamentally new to american politics and to the american presidency? i want to throw a couple of 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
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forced politicians to grapple with presenting themselves and their policies to voters through tv screens rather than newspaper articles, radio broadcasts or even these motion picture shorts. and 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 it could be used to undermine democracy and to promote totalitarian governments. after all adolph hitler and the
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nazi party in germany had a very effective propaganda machine. it's how they were able to consolidate power by limiting information over new medias. so too did joseph stalin in the soviet union. and so these concerns about the manipulative power of the new media and even old media, motion 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 came to testify about their political activity was were they using entertainment, were they using their celebrity for un-democratic purposes.
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quote, glamour is appealing, the communists have made shrewd in excellent use of it for their purpose. they are trying to bedazzle audiences with celebrity. and so 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
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are really important to understand when we see the different ways that politicians grappled with television. some of them embraced television and the opportunities that it had to offer, but overwhelmingly in the 1950s they were very wary of it. and the argument that we don't want to manipulate others by embracing advertising, sales advertising in madison avenue, that really dominated public discourse during the 1950s. for example, the democratic nominee for the presidency in 1952 and 1956 stevenson looked very disdainfully on the medium that sold presidents as commodities. quote, the idea you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal i think is the ultimate intigdy to -- in dignity to the democratic
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process argued stevenson. he wanted to use this new medium to perhaps expand his message, to deliver longer speeches but not to use any of those slick sale techniques that madison avenue executives were using to sell cereal. he wanted to use this new medium to perhaps expand the message 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 like the way we did with radio that's fine but i'm not going to appear in the short advertisement. there's no way i can talk about a policy in 30 seconds. so instead adlai stevenson worked with the democratic national committee and purchased longer chunks of time. so an hour perhaps where he would then go in front of a tv
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camera and deliver a long speech about a particular policy. well, if you're going to purchase an hour of tv time and you have a limited budget when will that time be? and he thought when can you afford that time, right? >> whenever it's cheapest. >> absolutely. >> which would probably be late at night when it's not prime time. >> exactly. so when adlai stevenson did appear on tv it was late at night, when the only people watching were perhaps those people who were committed democrats that wanted to watch what stevenson had to say. so that's only time he appeared in these purchased periods on television. and he had his advertising team make ads again that reflected radio strategy. i'm going to show you two of
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them and i want you to think about how these are perhaps reminiscent of something you'd hear over the radio than something you'd see on tv. ♪ old mcdonald had a farm back in '31 just broken down farmland everywhere ♪ ♪ farmer mack knows what to do, election day of '52 to look for adlai stevenson ♪ with a vote vote here, a vote for stephenson everywhere, ♪ well if it's good for mack you
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see it's good for you and good for me ♪ ♪ vote stevenson today >> all right, one more and we'll discuss. >> ike. >> bob. >> ike. >> bob. i'm so glad we're friends again, bob. >> yes, ike, we agree on everything. >> let's never separate again, bob.
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>> so bob refers to robert taft who was the other contender for the presidency in the republican party. and he was the more conservative candidate. and eisenhower was promoted at this time as the moderate republican. and so that, you know, makes a particular argument about their relationship. so what did you notice about these two commercials? carolyn? >> all the visuals were merely like ornamentation, like you mentioned earlier these could have just been played over the radio and honestly it would have had the same effectiveness and also it doesn't really feature any of the candidates at all, like facial so people watching it might not really make that rhetorical connection. >> excellent.
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>> this might just be looking at things from like a modern lens, but they're not very good. like, from the base standpoint of getting a stance across we don't know who farmer mack is. we don't know what caused his farm to be bad and how voting for stevenson would fix that problem, and that was a bigger problem with the first one than the second 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 one that seems to be going around that my friends are talking about. >> excellent. >> well, it's a lot like what you see today where it's like slander campaigns. you're getting nothing of yours across, just bashing everything what they do. like talk nothing about you, just them. just talk about all the
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negatives. >> and that's what's really interesting is you do see that negative approach of let's critique eisenhower and critique the republican party. so that negative aspect is absolutely there. rather than a positive message about why you should vote for the democratic candidates. >> it seemed the commercials were really just preaching to the choir because the first one was just saying adlai is good for farmers but doesn't say how. so it'd seem like the only people who would agree with that are people familiar with his farming policies. and in the second one trying to compare ike and bob it doesn't explain why. they're going to see that have their beliefs either ignored 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 -- 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
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democratic party at this time? how do they win elections? >> it'd be like remnants of roosevelt's coalition from the 1930s and something else, the first advertisement especially pointed out is look back to 1931. they're like look 20 years ago when republicans did bad things. i mean i feel like in the modern era 20 years ago is a completely different environment than now, so it's really trying to harken back to arguments they've been making for the last two decades. >> excellent. kayla.
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>> i was going to say you can see the contrast between the democratic party and 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 linking the party together, that's the only thing they share because he's a democrat, 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 and you can see that contrast here. and also a lack of prioritizing media and honestly there's no creativity here, which would make sense because they didn't prioritize it, and that definitely hurt them in this. >> and i think that's really important to think about, the democratic party had been in office for 20 years. that is 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've looked at. and so they were relying on
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those structures as economic incentives 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 turn out to the polls. >> on the subject of lack of creativity one thing i just realized is that both of those ads used already commonly known commonly accepted meters and musical structures that they just twisted slightly. there really was no creativity at all. >> they tried to build on familiarity rather than bringing something new and innovative. so again i think it's really important to kind of think about that there's 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. and even dwight eisenhower was really reluctant to embrace a more madison avenue driven style and nothing really exposes the initial thinking of dwight eisenhower like his announcement speech, when he was announcing his candidacy in abilene, kansas, and he turns out to a park in abilene, it is rainy, stormy, and everyone tells him we've got television cameras set
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up, you need to go into this barn to deliver your address to tv 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 audience that was in front of him. so he endured the wind and the rain and all of this was captured on camera. here's what alex kershaw that's really important to think about that the democratic party has 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 error specific new deal programs that gave benefits to voters. that brought workers and farmers into that democratic coalition. 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 they had mobilized. in many ways they're using the same strategies in who they're appealing to to turn out to the
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polls. >> on the subject of lack of creativity, one thing i just realized is both of those ads used already commonly known, commonly accepted meters and musical structures that they just twisted slightly. there really was no creativity at all. looking back on the american record through thee years, i gave renewed devotion to america. there is nothing before us that can defeat a people who in one man's lifetime have accomplished so much.
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ladies and gentlemen, i believe we can have peace with honor, reasonable security with national sovereignty. i believe in the future of the united states of america. >> what is capturing your attention? >> i think if you muted this and you would think that he is out at war somewhere speaking to his troops. maybe it's because we know he is a war general, the wind, the rain, his hair flying, and his has a very grimaced expression. he looked like a war general which i think is good for him because that is what he was running on. >> excellent. did anyone know that eisenhower had hair until you saw this? because you actually see his
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hair blowing in the wind. later in the speech he is raining harder and he can't see through his claglasses and he i struggling as he reads the speech. robert montgomery at this time it is a hollywood actor and a republican and he watched the speech and he was horrified. he recounts how he immediately picks up the phone, called the republican party and said let me work on your campaign with you. you are really missing an opportunity to sift to emphasize that you're a political leader, and that you can command audiences in front of you and audiences across the country. he was not the only one. dwight eisenhower was with a lot
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of executives that worked on madison avenue. and they also worked very diligently with him to revamp his media strategy. he was originally very resistance to this. he did not want to make television such a priority in his campaign, but over and over again figures emphasized that you need to take television seriously. and you need to see that you can get something across. something meaningful, across to viewers by embraces production tactics. and so this is what his campaign look like that was very different from adlai stevenson. he had this very catchy "i like ike" and "ike for 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.
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i want you to think about what this does in terms of preventing eisenhower as a personality and how perhaps this is different from what we've seen with adlai stevenson, but then what we've seen before in previous campaigns. so here is the first one, and this is the song that you'll be singing the rest of the day. ♪ ike for president ike for president ♪ ♪ ike for president ♪ you like ike i like ike ♪ everybody likes ike for president ♪ ♪ hang out the banner bang the drum we'll take ike to washington ♪
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♪ let's get in step with the guy that's hip ♪ ♪ i like ike you like ike everybody likes ike for president ♪ hang up the banner bang the drum ♪ ♪ together we're going, travel day and night ♪ ♪ we all go with ike you like ike i like ike ♪ ♪ everybody likes ike for president hang up the banners beat the drums ♪ 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 their country. >> this also uses cartoons, but what does it do that's different from stevenson? tanner? >> yeah, so in this one, it kind of has more of a bandwagoning effect and he even says like it's time for all good americans to come together. so it brings up the notion that, you know, you should join in on this party. >> excellent. great. >> it is catchy in that it has like a chorus that repeats rather than the like farmer's one relied on the fact that
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everyone would know that song already. and we do a lot of '40s and '50s music in choir. people were already listening to music like this so it appealed to the masses in that pop culture idea. >> excellent. and that's a really key point. lucas? >> we've already commented on how democrats were looking backwards in this campaign and republicans were looking forward. i've looked at these before in the past. one thing that stands out is the sun rising at the end. it seems like it's a new day after this 20 years of democrats being in office. >> so all of these different visuals. the music. the sound to it. they all emphasize innovation and looking forward. and enthusiasm.
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creating that band wagon that join us. this is something exciting moving forward. don't you want to be a part of it? >> i also notice how visuals were important because there was an illusion to harry truman. he's on the campaign trail for stevenson, even though he wasn't up for election, of course. unlike the democratic ads we saw earlier in the lecture the visuals are very important for selling the message of the advertisement. >> so there still is a critique of the democratic party. but the emp i like ike has all of those little visual subtleties like adlai stevenson on a donkey riding in the background in silhouette that i didn't even catch that the first three times i watched that video.
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but it has all of the little visual subtleties like adlai stevenson on a donkey riding in the background in the silhouette that i didn't catch the first three times i watched it. and i don't know if this was explored in psychology yesterday, but it is the idea of pressure. i like ike, you don't like, why don't you like ike? >> absolutely and you know it is ike, right? and the democratic commercials they didn't talk as much about stevenson. you know the candidate. you know it is about ike.
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you don't actually see him himself in the commercial, but rosser reeves, an advertising executive at this time, talked withize ize eisenhower repeated he said we need to get you into these short spots, and he came up with the idea about how eisenhower answers america. and these are 20 second spots, very short, and they would have different individuals asking eisenhower a question about his platform and his policies and what he would do as president. and this is where he was really reluctant it this required him to spend an entire day in the television rehearsing all of these lines. they made him take off his glasses and he couldn't see so they made really huge cue cards.
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they worked on the lighting, they put makeup on him. this is where robert montgomery played a role in terms of how do we present actors and using all of the tools of the trade to present ike here in a very effective efficient way. izeen hour again was not happy with this, but he reluctantly agreed to do it because he saw the potential of reaching new audiences. he did grumble along the way. one of the most famous quotes in terms of critique that he offered was that he was kpas per ra -- exasperated and he said why don't you just hire an actor and it does foreshadow the changes that would come in terms of who was qualified. but i'm going to play a couple here.
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all these production tactics at play with this spot campaign. >> eisenhower answers america. >> general, the democrats are telling me i've never had it good before. >> when prices are double, when taxes break our backs and we're still fighting in korea? it's tragic. and it's time for a change. >> 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 i say it's time for a change. time to get back to an honest dollar and an honest dollar's worth. >> what do you notice with those two really quick clips. jack? >> the big thing i noticed was that both clips, they were looking up at him at a very steep angle which is like putting him on a pedestal. >> absolutely. >> like please help us.
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we need help. >> excellent. tanner? >> so he kind of uses rosser reeves' unique selling proposition in this saying 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 would say. >> and he's refuting the slogans, you've never had it so good is a democratic party slogan. he's refusing them and not in a lot of detail but he's saying, what about the cost of living and tries to point a very specific to refute the slogan. so 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, 20 seconds he can try to refute some of the democratic slogans that they're
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running on. excellent. kayla? >> yeah, i think we can laugh at these because you can clearly see him reading the cue cards and that very awkward pan to the front was kind of comical. but i think for the time, this is brilliant because it's a person and eisenhower together and they're talking to each other. it goes one step further than the fireside chats. it's not just personable over the air waves. 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.
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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 adlai stevenson 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. so frequently going to caroline's point earlier, about how this fits in with the popular culture of the 1950s 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.
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and that's a word that was used in their campaign. and in studies of their campaign during the 1950s. 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. they went on camera the night before the election, and they talked about what they wanted to do in office and then it goes
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from them to showing scenes of them. eisenhower leading troops in world war ii and some 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 they organize ike celebrations all across the country in san francisco and 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 divides in region. and even class and social status through television. trying to build a new
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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 the republican party. and so 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 of their economic interests depended on these new deal programs.
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rather, you're appealing to media consumers and finding a way to get them invested emotionally into the political process. so one of the effective 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 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 adviser on his media strategy to the first television adviser as an official function of the white house staff. and he, 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
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television the same way that fdr had experimented with radio. and again, this is on purpose. what robert montgomery talks about in internal memos is he says fdr was very innovative and we need to pick up from where he left off and take the presidency into the next chapter with television. and so he has a variety of different tactics that he introduces. in 1954, there's the first televised cabinet meeting. this is also available through the c-span archives. and i would show you a clip, but it's incredibly muddled, and i think that shows as to how it's not as effective. eisenhower was reluctant to have a televised cabinet meeting, but
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his press secretary said this is a great opportunity to like radio before. james haggerty, his press secretary, said 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 and allow eisenhower to connect directly to viewers. so he tries a televised cabinet meeting. but the issue with the televised
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cabinet meeting is that it was incredibly scripted. as you can imagine. they set up cameras and people had scripts they were literally reading, and it was clear 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 engrained in the presidency ever since then. but again, he had reporters. he had reporters come in, ask certain questions of eisenhower, but at the end of the day, james haggerty and robert montgomery were able to edit and to cut what they didn't like from this press conference. and so some people celebrated
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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. and that is the idea of sitting at his desk and giving an address about a national crisis as it unfolded. and i want -- i'm going to play this quick clip to -- of an address that he delivers during the little rock crisis when the 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
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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. 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 versus state's rights and how they've really embroiled american politics over the previous century. and so it's his moment of crisis. and he uses television to frame what's happening as it is unfolding. and so this, again, i want you to think about how this is different from the news reels
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and fireside chats that franklin roosevelt used. >> his office 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 white house. i could have spoken from rhode island of where i have been staying recently. but i felt that in speaking from the house of lincoln, of jackson, and of wilson, my words would better convey 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
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leadership of demagogic extremists, disorderly mobs have deliberatively 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. this morning, the mob again 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
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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 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
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first one to, you know, have a stake in it. and he talks about the executive order that he makes and, of course, the supreme court has -- i think it's cooper v. aaron where they enforce, like, the brown decision, but as the executive, he's showing, like, yes, i am the figure that represents america and i am here talking about this first. so i think that that primacy effect is really interesting and important. >> excellent. kaitlyn? >> 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 have -- am trying to enforce because of a supreme
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court decision. this is how our laws work. but also he doesn't directly call out -- he calls out like the police there in little rock, but he puts the emphasis really on these demagogue extremists, the people, rather than the government there, the local government and governor fabis. i'm from little rock so, like, this is important to me. but he doesn't really call out the local government there for really enforcing anything which is interesting because i think in some ways he's trying to -- he's not trying to isolate and push them away for not doing their job basically, but he's putting the emphasis really on the people and these mobs and that they're out of control, but it's not really the politicians that are really to blame for this. >> why do you think he does that? what's the goal? because that's on purpose the way he frames it. >> i think he's trying to, like, keep them in -- draw them into
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the party especially as they're kind of undergoing this shift between the democrats and the republican party like ideals i think are starting to shift and southern democrats that the idea of the southern democratic party is changing. and so he's trying to pull in southerners and southern politicians to -- into the republican party. >> absolutely. so at the same time that he is forced to finally take a stance on the little rock crisis and send troops in and he does feel that it's his obligation as the executive to follow the law of the land, but at the same time, the republican national committee is undergoing a variety of studies, they call operation dixie, where they're thinking about ways in which they can capitalize on the divides that are growing in the democratic party between southern conservatives and more liberal northern democrats that want to act on civil rights. so it's a really calculated move in terms of how he frames it that you absolutely hit on. excellent. >> firstly, i find it kind of ironic that he chose andrew jackson of all people to talk
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about when talking about the enforcement of a supreme court decision given that one of jackson's most famous decisions was not to listen to the supreme court in the case of the indian removal act. but also, one thing he makes very clear is this is, to continue off of the absolving government point, he makes it very clear that this is a last resort. it's very much the people are not listening to what has been said previously so we have to send the army in to enforce this decision because we are a nation of laws and those laws must be followed. >> excellent. great. ryan? >> i want to highlight what eisenhower said at the beginning. he was like, i've come to the white house when i could have just been in rhode island, and that's clearly for the visual aspect of this address because if it's over the radio, it doesn't matter where he is. but he goes back to the white house to, one, lend credibility to what he is saying and, two, to draw comparisons to those presidents he mentioned that -- jackson not respecting the supreme court, he's trying to lend legitimacy to his actions and the actions of the federal government through the location
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that he's giving the address. >> uh-huh. yes, that's very key. you're absolutely right. he recognizes the visual power of the oval office. and this is something that presidents time and time again will continue to invoke that visual power. and they will use these addresses from that very same spot to talk to the country in moments of crisis. and so again, this is a really new development that eisenhower recognizes in terms of shifting the power dynamics. and as you and kaitlyn mentioned, overwhelmingly it's the president that's taking action. and the president dominates television, especially in comparison to congress at this time so it's part of that visual shift in terms of who is taking action, who is reading the country that's centering more in the executive branch than in the
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legislative branch. so to get to the question that we started with today, does television revolutionize the presidency? or does it just build on trends that are already in place? does something fundamentally change with television and the presidency? caroline? >> i think it's a mix of both. it's not the best answer, but, obviously -- there's always trends in the media. and even just within the presidency, we talk about teddy roosevelt being the first personality president and that translates into fdr's radio addresses where he uses rhetoric that everyday americans can understand. the biggest thing with television being introduced into the presidency is this idea of a media institution. douglas in her article gets into that with kennedy but this idea that there are these agencies now, pr agencies. like pr is a profession that comes into existence in this era
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because there's this idea that there's a way to use media, not even paid advertising, to make your message more known and make it seem credible and make people jump on board with it. and this idea that there are these -- also these norms that have to be addressed and understood with television as well. so i think the fact there's this institution behind television, not just the -- like, not just the media, itself. not just the fact it's visual but there's an institution surrounding it and what changes. >> that's excellent. a great observation. and you actually saw that in the beginning of this where if you notice, they showed him walking up to his desk. they showed the tv cameras. and frequently, footage of eisenhower in the oval office would show that that production scene around it. newspapers would report on that and say, oh, the real excitement was behind the camera, and they would describe what was happening. so there's an education that the entire public gets about how media as an institution works.
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that comes with the use of television and the implementation of this studio in the oval office. excellent. tanner? >> yeah, i like the point with television now, it's going to bring a lot of more transparency to the executive branch. now that they do have visuals and it's being more personable. like when they get into families' homes and gathered around the tv and get to watch the actual president give speeches and address certain agendas and everything else. >> excellent. great. ryan? >> i think the use of television is revolutionary in the fact that it changes who can be major party candidates. i think it would have been much more difficult for fdr with his polio to be a successful president in the 1950s because his campaign and staff is always doing everything they could to play down his physical ailment. but instead with television,
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it's much easier to use the personality that roosevelt used to appeal to the people and then i think you'll see later candidates in kennedy and reagan use different backgrounds than, say, the party politics that truman or mckinley or any of the antebellum presidents came out of. and that, i think, is the biggest change that television creates on the presidency. >> excellent. yes. it challenges party structures. and allows for those people who can command media attention to not have to negotiate and wheel and deal behind the scenes to gain power and privilege within the party but to go to the public. and this does set up very nicely what comes next on thursday, which is the 1960 election when john f. kennedy does exactly that. brent? >> sorry about the delay. what i was going to say is, also
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on the opposite side of that, as kelly mentioned in their article that we read, you had things like the eisenhower/nixon research group that sort of codified a party machine version two. it was less about being the kingmaker and more about taking what limited money they had, which it was millions of dollars. it wasn't limited like, by normal scope, but it was -- they did have a budget. and figuring out what the most effective way to spend that money was. >> absolutely. excellent. so new challenges within the party, itself, to think about how to adapt and take advantage of the media landscape. and then the role of individuals
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that -- who are not a part of the party can think about ways in which they can foreground themselves to make the party take them seriously. and that, again, is something that stanley kelley talks about notably in this particular excerpt. i'm going to give you a brief second to read this. and it's part of the reading, but i think it gets at the core of what you're talking about in terms of changing party structures that happened because of public relations and television. so if you're a candidate that is looking to win a presidential nomination from your party, and it's really telling that this is stanley kelley jr. which you read for today. he's a political scientist at princeton and one of the first people to actually study this question of public relations and power dynamics. how would this new industry of
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public relations is shifting the power dynamics in american politics during the 1950s. this comes out in 1956. if you are an astute and eager public official and you want to think about a presidential nomination, how would you take this advice that he gives and perhaps apply it to your campaign? katlyn? >> i think you have to become a celebrity within your own right somehow politically or otherwise. you could be reagan and be an actor or radio falk show host or something on the radio that he did, i don't remember. or you become a political celebrity but either way you have to make publicity for yourself in order to capture the public imagination before you
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even start talking about your policies. in order to get that attention that you are a person and that you're seeking this nomination and that that you're like a people of the person again, a celebrity. >> the importance of a systematic large-scale privately sponsored publicity build-up in order to gain political legitimacy. and this is something that john f. kennedy studies and recognizes and uses in his campaign to win the democratic nomination in 1960. and it's notable as we will talk about on thursday that his challenger was lyndon johnson. the most powerful democrat in the country that had all of the authority of working within the democratic party since the time
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of the new deal. building up his credibility and his authority. his ability to manipulate votes in the senate. those two were the leading contenders for the democratic presidential nomination in 1960, and it's very telling that john f. kennedy is on the ticket as president and lyndon johnson as vice president. and so how that came about and the 1960 campaign when we had all of these conflicting ideas about who should have authority, all of that will be the story we look into on thursday. great job today. all week we're featuring "american history tv" programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight from our lectures in history series, travel virtually to our nation's capital for classes from the washington, d.c., region. they begin with white house myths with historian and american university lecturer matthew costello tonight at 8:00
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eastern on c-span3. american history tv products are now available at the new c-span online store. go to to see what's new for "american history tv" and check out all of the c-span products. television has changed since c-span began. already this year we've brought you primary election coverage, the presidential impeachment process and now the federal response to the coronavirus. you can watch public affairs programming on television, online or listen on our free radio app and be part of the national conversation between c-span's daily washington journal program or through our social media feeds. c-span, created by as a public service and brought
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to you today by your television provider. next, on "lectures in history," rutgers university professor jefferson decker teaches a class in environmental movement, describing the relationship between private property and government regulation and splors who is legally allowed to represent environmental interests in court. his class is about an hour. >> so, today, we're going to do a class on environmental law and litigation in the united states, all right? i'm not going to cover everything there is to say about the subject, which could obviously be an entire course in its own right, but rather today i'm going to focus on a few recurring big picture problems that environmental issues pose for the subject matter of this class, namely law and society. if you remember when we went back to day one, day two of this


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