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Tailor-made for mass media. Photo by GetOffline.com

John F. Kennedy and the Power of Television

“TV has altered drastically the nature of our political campaigns, conventions, constituents, candidates, and costs” — Senator John F. Kennedy

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The Kennedy Family in 1960. An army of charismatic campaigners. Photo by People.com

But it was the power of the televised image that was changing the political landscape most drastically, and Kennedy advised the reader that “It is in your power to perceive deception, to shut off gimmickry, to reward honesty, to demand legislation where needed. Without your approval, no TV show is worthwhile and no politician can exist.”

Kennedy certainly understood the importance of projecting a presidential image. This was seen in full-force when he challenged Vice President Richard Nixon in the first-ever televised presidential campaign debate. Kennedy appeared well-groomed, calm and collected while Nixon, on the other hand, showed up with 5 o’clock shadow acting flustered and ill-at-ease. After winning the election, Kennedy skillfully cultivated a relationship with the press that he always worked to his advantage (the whole Camelot business, for example).

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Ew.
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EWWWWWWWW. Photos by CNN.com

What happened when the two candidates got behind their podiums is an iconic moment in American politics. Nixon looked like death warmed-over, waxen and underweight from a recent hospitalization, while Kennedy appeared healthy, tan, calm, and confident. And yeah, I’ll say it. Pretty damn studly.

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Oh, how far have we fallen America? This was once the image we presented to the world. Photo by NYPost.com

Big Money donors taking over the American political system and electoral process? Never!

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Another time, another place, a completely different America. Photo by CNN.com

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is a political junkie and history buff randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and amusement while bearing witness to the Apocalypse. Come along!

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