Political Communication - Course illustrations
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Political Communication - Course illustrations
examples used in my course on political communication and more on the topic
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North Woods Advertising - "Action Figure" - Jesse Ventura for Governor (MN) - YouTube

Action Figure became an instant advertising classic and the most important commercial of the 1998 Ventura for Governor campaign-- what many observers conside...
Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H44 - The main political ad from Jesse Ventura in the campaign to become Governor of Minnesota. He was considered a 'joke' as candidate by the mainstream media and commentators. He turned this marginalization into a strength and linked it to an issue that resonated well with dissatisfaction with the two mainstream parties and he portrayed them as arrogant and not in touch with 'ordinary' people while he was one of them. He succeeded in making the point that ridiculing him equated ridiculing all the Minnesotans that like watching sports, have a beer and are not 'elite' or 'high brow'. His election was one with the highest turnout for a Gubernatorial race in the US as many disenfranchised voters that normally don't show up at the polls now did the effort to go and vote for 'Governor Body' (his self chosen nickname).  

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Noam Chomsky discusses the slogan "Support Our Troops" - YouTube

Chomsky dissecting state propaganda slogans. Excerpt from "Class War: The Attack On Working People" (1998)
Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H2 - This lecture by Noam Chomsky summarizes his view on media and public opinion in a nutshell. Most of the central topics of "Manufacturing Consent" (his book together with Edward Herman) can easily be recognized in the first three minutes of this dissection of the slogan 'support the troops'. Chomsky clearly sees a very directional influence of the elite on the masses through public relations efforts. The masses are rather passive as they 'watch the tube alone' (in his words) and don't get organized to fight the system that is working to thwart the interests of the lower classes. Chomsky is the epigone of the left-wing critic of the current American political-media complex.

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Jon Stewart on Crossfire

Jon Stewart gets invited to the political debate show Crossfire on CNN and he is not the funny guy they expect him to be.

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H40 - In this clip from the debate show Crossfire, Jon Stewart -host of The Daily Show - destroys the format of the show he is invited to. Jon Stewart has a record of criticising shows on CNN, Fox and other news media outlets for their partisan hacks and sensationalism. Research unfortunately shows us that The Daily Show also instills cynicism towards politicians and the political system among its viewers. One can debate on the quality of Stewarts counter-argument that he is running a comedy show and should therefore not be judged by the same standards as news shows that have the pretense to bring high quality political information to the citizens.

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Adam Curtis: The Century of the Self

Adam Curtis' BBC series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H24/26/28 - The vast documentary series 'Century of the Self' from BBC documentary maker Adam Curtis. Although the whole series is interesting to watch for anyone with a general interest in public opinion throughout the 20th century, it is especially the last section (of the original four chapters of the series) that is insightful on the role of professionals and public opinion analysts in crafting domestic policy in the Clinton and Blair administration. It is shown how they used call-center polling data and focus groups to decide on day-to-day policies (In the course the section from 3:30:25 to 3:40:00 was shown as an illustration).

 

The first three chapters of the documentary-series are more related to the influence of Sigmund Freud’s theories on Western Societies. But the role of people like Edward Bernays in using these theories to try to ‘manufacture public opinion’ in the first half of the 20th century is also largely illustrated in these first chapters and gives some insight in the first decades of marketing and political communication policies

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Anti Obama Ad

Ad from the 2012 presidential elections. An ad from the Romney campaign suggesting that Obama is very similar to Jimmy Carter. Carter did not get re-elected (got defeated by Reagan) and so the ad also implies that Obama will not (should not) get a second term

 

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Triumph des Willens (1935) - Triumph of the Will

Triumph des Willens is a propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg.

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H1 - The quintessential pre-WWII propaganda movie "Triumph des Willens". The starting sequence -which for contemporary viewers drags on way too long- evokes Hitler coming down from the sky in a 'white' plane to lead the people that we see as small 'ants' in the streets of Nuremberg as the plane flies over. It is as if he were a Germanic god from the Nibelungen who descends from the heavens and is greeted by the ecstatic ‘Volk’ which almost begs him to lead them. Several of the later sequences (of which some of the speeches of the lesser gods in the party are actually some of the lesser parts) equally evoke images that hark back to the Roman empire. The sequence at around 1h into the film where Hitler walks towards the podium between tens of thousands of Germans lined up in Phalanx formations for example is reminiscent of the Roman army in the field. The movie makes it clear to the viewer that Hitler is not just some elected official on a four year term. The cinematographic quality that Riefenstahl brings to the movie (see the amazing travelling shots and panned out views in the outdoor sequences) makes it to some extend legitimate to still see this as a work of art even though the aim of the picture is of course to justify a moral abyss in the history of humankind.

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Willie Horton 1988 Attack Ad

Infamous attack ad from 1988 U.S. Election against Michael Dukakis. This ad was ran by the National Security PAC, not directly by the Bush/Quayle campaign.

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H17 - The Willie Horton spot from 1988 is part-and-parcel of the "hall of fame" for attack ads. The 'weekend passes' that are mentioned in the spot were actually not installed by Dukakis but by his predecessor, a republican. Dukakis thought the ad so proposterous that in a first instance he deemed it unworthy of a reply. Which proved to be a fatal mistake as it helped Bush to get a lead in the polls. Because Dukakis did not respond, it even got worse because journalists saw in it a salient topic to confront him with as they felt that his non-respons was admitting to a weakness in his campaign. The worst example here is Bernard Shaw from CNN who in the debate between Bush and Dukakis asked as a first question (and therefore giving it prominence) what he would do if Kitty Dukakis (his wife) were raped and murdered (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF9gSyku-fc). Bush could just say that he has always been in favour of the death penalty, while Dukakis had to come up with an elaborate and 'academic' answer that did not resonate with the 'your wife has just been raped and killed' sentiment that was evoked with the viewers.

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"Mais vous avez tout à fait raison monsieur le premier ministre" Chirac contre Mitterrand 1988

Clip from the 1988 presidential debate in France between outgoing president Mitterand (socialist) and prime minister Chirac (centre-right)

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H17 - Going into an election with a higher status than your opponent is a clear advantage. In this case Mitterand has that advantage and Chirac tries to eliminate it by proposing they call each other 'sir' instead of using their official titles. With a one sentence reply Mitterand masterfully re-emphasizes that he is the current president and that Chirac can do whatever he wants, but that he will call him ‘prime minister’. This refusal also makes it clear to the voters watching at home that by asking Chirac actually himself acknowledges that he has a disadvantage here. The plan completely backfires and it was downhill from here for Chirac.

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▶ RAW FOOTAGE - Muhammad Al Durrah incident - YouTube

The raw footage (uncut and unedited) from the so-called Muhammad Al Durrah incident. The most critical part of the clip starts around 2 minutes into the video

 

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H13 - This is a prime example for Wolfsfelds political contest model where the media is part of the battleground in unequal political conflicts. The few minutes in this clip where a boy is shot while hiding behind his father's back have become one of the most 're-interpreted' and controversial moments of television footage. For the Palestinian Authorities the clip shows the cold blooded murder of a boy by the Israeli army while he is hiding behind his fathers back. This interpretation resonates with the frame of Palestinians as victims of the most brutal occupation (i.e. shooting unarmed children). The Israeli interpretation is that after meticulous analysis of the footage it would seem that the boy was victim of 'friendly fire' by the Palestinian side. This would be known to the Palestinians and they would abuse this footage to try to tarnish the reputation of the Israeli's while covering up their own errors (i.e. trying to blame someone else for being a child killer while you did it yourself). This resonates perfectly with the frame of Israeli's being the victim of negative propaganda that distorts their policy and makes them look more evil than they are. It only takes a few minutes of surfing the internet to realize that the battle over this clip is not over yet and that some supporters on both sides take the re-interpretation to the extremes. There have been court cases and even books have been devoted to the incident. A long summary of all the incidents and arguments related to this single piece of video can be found on a wikipedia page specifically devoted to it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_al-Durrah_incident

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Bill Clinton "Hope" ad 1992

General Election campaign ad for Bill Clinton, 1992.
Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

With this ad (a short version of a longer campaign clip) Clinton introduced himself to the American public. While this seems a straightforward bio-pic of a minute, the clip is interesting for what it does not mention. Many things that Clinton achieved and would be bragged about by many other candidates are not even mentioned. He graduated from Yale with honours, received a prestigious grant to go to Oxford and got tenure at a young age. This is not an accidental omission, but this information would come into tension with the 'regular guy from the South' image that is portrayed here. The Yale and Oxford parts would evoke the "intellectual left wing elitist"-cue that any democrat running in the US wants to avoid. From then on it became self-evident to avoid mentioning your academic credentials if you have them to appear as a regular average American. Most notably, George W. Bush did a very good job at hiding the fact that he graduated from both Yale and Harvard. But Obama equally avoided to mention his Harvard degree in his first introduction ad (which bears much striking resemblance with this Hope ad from Clinton). A longer description of the emotional cues that can be found in this one-minute ad can be found in Drew Westen's first chapter in his book 'The Political Brain'.

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News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier | Political Communication - Course illustrations | Scoop.it
News is bad for you. It leads to fear and aggression. It hinders your creativity and makes you sick. We should stop consuming it, says Rolf Dobelli, who's abstained for years
Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

The op-ed on news consumption in The Guardian by author Rolf Dobelli who sold over a million copies in no time of his book "The Art of Thinking Clearly". He makes the controversial point that consuming daily news is actually a waste of time and even goes beyond that to state that it is counterproductive in several ways. Although several of his arguments can be debated when looking at the existing research (but not completely cast aside), he does a decent job in trying to dissect his main theme point by point. The full essay can be found at http://www.dobelli.com/no-news-2;

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(High Quality) Famous "Daisy" Attack Ad from 1964 Presidential Election

The so-called 'Daisy' attack ad from the Johnson campaign in 1964

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H18 - The ad is very known for being a brutal attack ad; the basic message being: vote for Goldwater and we all die in a big nuclear fireball. But this ad also is bringing visuals back into the center of campaigns. Although there were some previous TV ads that used graphics or visuals (notably the 'I like Ike' ad made by the Walt Disney company for Eisenhower), the standard format was a voter asking a question and the candidate responding or some song that would enumerate the qualities of the candidate. It is ad man Tony Schwartz who made this ad with almost only visual suggestion and almost no information using the full force that TV can bring to an ad. The ad is therefore a turning point on two levels and is still listed as one of the most influential campaign ads ever produced.

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Swiftboat Veterans Ad on John Kerry - Any Questions (2004)

Swiftboat Veterans For Truth Ad on John Kerry - Any Questions
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The Living Room Candidate

An archive of presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to the present.

Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

The Living Room Candidate is a treasure trove for anyone interested in American election campaigns with several hunderds of campaign commercials from 60 years of televised campaigning in the US. The site is well designed and easy to navigate.

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The single campaign spot for Angela Merkels re-election bid

TV-Spot der CDU Deutschlands zur Bundestagswahl
Dejaeghere Yves's insight:

H6 - The only official campaign clip for Merkels bid for re-election as Bundeskanzlerin. It has an almost vintage "old style" feel about it, if it was not for the odd erratic camera movement and focus now and then. Just a "talking head", no images of fields of corn in the sunshine or bustling factories with happy workers, just her saying she did a good job and wants to do so in the future.

 

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