tv Lectures in History Dwight Eisenhower and 1950s Political Advertising CSPAN August 14, 2019 3:40am-4:57am EDT
highlighting dwight eisenhower's political campaign. she examines what components made them successful. her class is about an hour and 10 minutes. >> nothing perhaps captures the popular memory of the 1950s like the slogan, i like ike. this idea, this pin that so many people wore around the campaign of 1952 and 1956, conveys a notion of nostalgia and simplicity. it really emphasizes this idea of the 1950s as this era of prosperity. 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 is a political construction. the 1950s, in fact, it 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. it was a time in which anti- communism targeted the liberal reform impulses of the new deal and often anti-communists took away civil liberties. these are all areas of political pressure in terms of enforcing certain ideals and resisting against those that we will look at next week. 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.
at the root of it was an 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. i can't nest the power of television to win the presidency and to put forward 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 organizational approach. doing this, he built on a lot of the transformations we 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
extended it. with the national security state. dwight eisenhower formalized it. he ran his office very much like he did the military. the bureaucracy became very entrenched and well executed in the american presidency under eisenhower. for example, he had weekly cabinet meetings and form the office of congressional liaison so that he could have a formal link to the legislative process. 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 smooth operation in terms of links with congress. but he also brought this organizational focus to the shifting media environment and transforms 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. it ultimately really transformed american political communication during the 1950s. so, the post-world war ii era is a key moment to understand the rise of entertainment, advertising, television and hollywood in american politics, because television really does drastically change the political theme during the 1950s. so the question that i want us to think about today as we study this particular period is, how does television change leadership styles? how does it change strategies of political communication and what is needed to succeed politically? and the key question we will 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 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 strategy and communication strategy? so, what trends were already in place before the launch of television in the 1950s? what does theodore roosevelt bring to the presidency? >> theodore roosevelt increased media connections at the beginning of the 20th century to start formalizing the process of the executive office in the media. >> excellent. >> didn't he also set up the west wing as a source to have the press within the white house -- >> yes. >> in order to have a
connection with them, as well. >> yes. he saw the press as an asset, something he wanted to capitalize on to control and help shape public opinion. excellent. caroline? >> he also had the fireside chats, so there was already this idea that there was this personalized president. if every person has a radio in their home he can listen to them and he is using rhetoric that is easy to understand and not super complicated political jargon. >> yes. so franklin roosevelt really brings in this idea of the fireside chats. theodore roosevelt uses the bully pulpit. he 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. and i am 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. to start with 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 withdrawing of checks. >> what did he do, just in that very simple opening?
>> he definitely personalizes the chat. he uses i, you, we, and he creates this personal link between the presidency and the people, so that they feel like he is on their side and 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 them with the radio? if someone doesn't agree with a particular program, what is he able to do with radio? >> he is able to directly appeal to the american people with the radio and bypass, say,
newspapers with an editorial slant against new deal policies and just to work around old institutions that were against him. >> absolutely. that is really key, thinking about the power that this gives. it creates that personal relationship, the 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 and many newspaper editors were against the new deal, overwhelmingly. newspapers were more conservative, more critical of a lot of roosevelt policies. so the radio becomes a new opportunity to connect directly to audiences. and if you recall, it is not just radio that he uses. he also used theaters and motion pictures to sell certain programs.
he capitalized on the newsreels that would've 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. ♪ [ applause ] >> you and you and you, you've got a president now he gave the land a new deal. you hold the new deal. you, and you, and you, shoulders to the plow. he gave us what we asked for, now pay him back somehow.
step out front, and give a man a job. ♪ and give a man a job. ♪ in the old name of roosevelt, make the old heart sound. ♪ ♪you take this message straight from the president and give a man a job. ♪ >> you look like a banker who drives a car? >> i drive it myself sir, 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 assistance each a nice weekend vacation. we want you to hire a crowd. you will hang up this sign, it means no rats allowed.
and how about you? >> i am a very sick woman. >> oh. hypochondriac. you must get something to soothe you. two for halitosis. one for eczema, bronchitis, or any other kind of an -itis, that will delight us. that way madam, you will help to end unemployment. now, listen to me, everybody. step out, get back, and give a man a job. you know that. i know it. now, step up and give a man a job. you know who is president of the nra? no? i'll tell you. you take this message straight from the president and give a man a job.
[ applause ] >> so what does this do that is different from the fireside chats? go ahead, brent. >> it turns presidential policy into an entertainment product. it is very much like the beginning of the whole concept of marketing. >> absolutely. excellent. excellent. kayla? >> i was going to say it is no longer the president advocating for himself, but it is normal people advocating for the president. that normal people would want the president and are very much for his policies. and that he has caused the economic boom and prosperity in the country. >> so the focus, the hero of
this story, is franklin roosevelt. he is featured at the end, his portrait, but he has a variety of other people helping sell this. a comedienne in this capacity. a variety of celebrities come out for franklin roosevelt to do this. radio spokesman and personalities are all selling the president for him. again, a different kind of production team in terms of selling a particular policy. excellent. adam? >> it kind of creates the soundbite. you can take different snippets of what the guy is saying. give back to the president or give a man a job. those are easy to remember jingles, so you could put those in radio advertisements that appeal to a general audience. they will remember that message, whether or not they have heard the whole song or whether or not they have heard about the different ways they can help. they will remember, give a man
a job. >> absolutely, the slogan. so bringing some of these features, advertising at the time and hollywood, bringing them into hollywood. and the only reason you will not be humming give a man a job later this day is because you will hum "i like ike." it is a lot catchier. >> they also use it as a selling point. usually when we think of selling a candidate, we think of getting votes. but this time it was getting the people involved in a specific policy, so it is 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 helping all americans. >> and that is really key, as well, when we think about media and new media and the president. because effective presidents are able to use new media to
win elections, but also to govern. to use it as a tool to sell their agenda, as well. making that transition from communication on the campaign trail to communication once in office is really key. 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 governs and sets the agenda, as lucas pointed out. again, there are a lot of new possibilities, in terms of presenting 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 sent the american presidency? i want to throw a couple
numbers out, because i think it conveys how dramatically television grew and reshaped american politics. in 1949, only 172,000 television sets that sold. that jump to 53 million by 1952. this was a dramatic growth of a new technology that forced politicians to grapple with presenting themselves and their policies to voters through tv screens, rather than newspaper articles, radio broadcasts or even these moche motion picture shorts. one of the key things to think about is this growth of new technology caused tremendous anxiety and concern and it is 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 promote totalitarian governments. after all, adolf hitler and the nazi party in germany had an effective propaganda machine. they were able to consolidate power by limiting new information over new media. so did joseph stalin and the soviet union. these concerns about the manipulative power of 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 and studio executives came to washington dc to testify about their political activity, was,
were they using entertainment, where they using their celebrity, for undemocratic purposes? one anti-communist film critic told the house committee of un- american activities that clamor is appealing. the communists have made shrewd and excellent use of it for their purposes. they are trying to bedazzle audiences with celebrities. this is a question that pervaded national politics. is entertainment media? motion pictures and this new media, television, that people weren't sure what to do with, is this going to undermine democracy? does it focus more attention on entertainment? can it be used as a way to advance communism? these were central questions that people had periods of 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 embraced television and the opportunities that it is going to offer. overwhelmingly in the 1950s they were very wary of it. the argument that we don't want to manipulate others by embracing advertising, advertising in madison avenue, that really dominated public discourse in the 1950s. for example, the democratic nominee for the presidency in 1952 and 1956, adelaide stevenson, looked disdainfully on the medium that sold presidents as commodities. he wrote, i think it is the ultimate indignity to the
democratic process. he wanted to use this new medium to perhaps expand his message, to deliver longer speeches. to emphasize his oratory, but not to use those quick sales 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. so what he did in 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 we did with the radio, that's fine, but i'm not going to appear in the short advertisements. there is 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 where he would then go in front of a tv camera and deliver a long speech about a particular policy. well, if you are going to purchase an hour of tv time and you have a limited budget, when will that time be? any thoughts? when can you afford that time? guys? >> whenever it is cheapest. >> absolutely. >> it would probably be late at night, not prime time. >> absolutely. 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 and wanted to watch what adlai stevenson had to say. so that is the only time he really appeared on television and he had his advertising team
make adds, that again, reflected radio strategy. i want to show you two of them and i want you to think of how these are perhaps more reminiscent of something you would hear over the radio, then something you would see on tv. >> ♪ old mcdonald had a farm, back in 31. petitions filled him with alarm, back in 31. ♪ and farmer mac ♪ ♪the day in 1931, when he didn't have bread when the day was done. farmer mac knows what to do, election day of 1952. vote along with everyone in the usa. then to look for adlai stevenson to get us on our way. ♪
♪if it is good for mac, you see, it is good for you and me. all-american loves that farm. vote stevenson today. ♪ >> all right, and one more. ♪ >> ike. >> bob. >> ike. >> bob. >> i'm so glad we are friends again, bob. >> yes ike, we agree on everything. >> let's never separate again, bob. >> never again, ike. >> bob. >> ike. >> will bike ike and bob really live happily ever after? is the white house big enough for both of them? stay tuned.
>> ♪ reuben, reuben, i've been thinking, bob and i can now think alike. with the general in the white house, who is giving the orders, bob or ike? ♪ >> bob refers to the other contender for the presidency in the republican party. he was the more conservative candidate and eisenhower was promoted at this time is the moderate republican, so that makes a particular argument about their relationship. what did you notice about these two commercials? caroline? >> all of the visuals were merely like ornamentation. like you mentioned earlier, these could have been played over the radio and had the same effectiveness. also, it doesn't really feature any of the candidates at all. facial, wise periods of people
watching it might not make that connection. >> excellent. great. >> this might be looking at things from a modern lens, but they are not very good. like from the base standpoint of getting a stance across, we don't know who farmer mac is. we don't know what caused his farm to be bad and how voting for adlai stevenson would fix that problem. that is a bigger problem with the first one then the second one. the second one doesn't go anywhere. 30 seconds of, can i change the channel to see literally any other political advertisement, especially that really catchy i like ike one, going around that my friends are talking about. >> excellent. >> today where you see like slander campaigns. you are getting nothing across, just bashing everything they do. talking nothing about you, just them. just the negatives. >> that is what is interesting
is you do see that negative approach, of let's critique eisenhower and the republican party. that negative aspect is absolutely there, rather than a positive message of why you should vote for the candidate. >> i thought the commercials were preaching to the choir. the first one was saying he is good for farmers, but doesn't say how. it seems like the only people who would say i agree with that are already familiar with his policies. then in the second advertisement, comparing ike and bob, it doesn't explain why. so they are going to see that and have their beliefs either affirmed or offended. >> absolutely. i think that is really important, too, when you think about the democratic party at this time. media is a side component. it is clearly not a priority for stevenson or the democratic national committee at this time.
why? where's the strength of the democratic party at this time? where do they win elections? >> may be remnants of roosevelt's coalition from the 1930s -- >> absolutely. >> -- and something else the advertisement pointed out, look back to 1931. look 20 years ago when the republicans did that thing. i feel like in the modern era 20 years ago as a different environment. so it is trying to harken back to decision-making of the past few decades. >> excellent. kayla? >> i was going to say, you can see the contrast between the democratic party and they are continually asking people to look back at what we have done. not even what stevenson has done, necessarily, but what other democrats have done and linking the party together.
just that because he is a democrat he will be as successful as past democrats. whereas, with ike's campaign, it was looking to the future. 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. also a lack of prioritizing media. there is no creativity here, which would make sense, because they didn't prioritize it and that definitely hurt them in this. >> i think that is 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 the coalition with very specific new deal programs that give benefits to voters. that brought workers and farmers into that democratic coalition with all the programs we have looked at. so they were relying on the
structures of economic incentives to bring voters to the polls. they weren't worried about getting new voters. they just wanted to capitalize on the coalition they mobilized for the last 20 years. in many ways they are using the same strategies in terms of rhetoric and who they are appealing too, to turn out to the 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. >> where they tried to go with familiarity, rather than bringing something new and innovative. again, i think it is really important to 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 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. he turns out to a park in abilene. it is raining, it is stormy. everyone tells him, we have television cameras set up. you need to go into this bond 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. 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. >> [ applause ] >> 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 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 with national solvency. i believe in the future of the united states of america. >> what did you notice here? what captured your attention? kayla? >> i think if you muted this, and, yeah, i think if you muted this, you would think he was out at war somewhere speaking to his troops. i don't know. maybe it is because we know he has a war general, but the wind and the rain and his hair flying everywhere. and he has a very grimmest expression. he looks like a war general, which i think is good for him. that is what he was running on. >> excellent.
did anyone know that he actually had hair before you saw this? because you actually see his hair blowing in the wind. later in the speech it started raining harder and he can't really see through his glasses. he is struggling with his glasses as he was reading the speech. robert montgomery at the time is a hollywood actor and a republican. 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 you. because you are 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 lots of executives in new york city that worked on madison avenue. advertising executives. and they also worked 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 like walter reeves 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 embracing some of these production tactics. so this is what his campaign looked like, that was very different from adlai stevenson. he had this very catchy spot i
will show you in a moment. 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 this is different from what we have seen from adlai stevenson and what we have seen before, from previous campaigns. so here is the first one and this is the song you will be singing for the rest of the day. >> ♪ ike for president, ike for president. you like ike, i like ike ♪ everyone likes ike. ♪ ♪for president . ♪ we don't want john or harry ♪ let's get in step ♪ you like ike ♪ i like ike ♪ we get
together where we are going ♪ ♪ we go all the way, we all go with ike ♪ you like ike, i like ike, everyone likes ike, for president ♪ we will take ike to washington ♪ >> now is the time for all good americans to come to the aid of their country. >> so this also uses cartoons, but what does it do that is different from stevenson? >> yes, so in this one, it has more of a bandwagon in effect. he even says it is time for all good americans to come together. it brings up the notion that you should join in on this party. >> excellent.
>> it is catchy, in that it has a chorus that repeats, rather than the farmers when that relies on the fact that everyone would know that song already. i am in choir and we do a lot of music that is from the 40s and 50s. it already appealed to the masses in that pop-culture idea. >> excellent, and that is a very key point. >> we already commented on how democrats were looking backward in this campaign and republicans were looking forward. i have looked at this in the past and one thing that stands out to me is the sunrise at the end. it really seems like it is a new day after 20 years of democrats in office. >> all of the different visuals. the music, the sound to it, they all emphasize innovation and enthusiasm. creating that bandwagon. join us, this is something exciting moving forward. don't you want to be a part of
it. brent? >> i also noticed the visuals were important because there was an allusion to harry truman within the advertisement and that is important. on the campaign trail, even though he wasn't up for president. 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 advertisement. >> so they are selling the critique of the democratic party here. but the emphasis is definitely on that positive message, that you don't want to be part of that democratic party and truman and what has been for 20 years. you want to be part of the future. >> i have two points. first, to continue on the visual point, it really helps with the rewatch ability. i could probably recite, not the bob van bit, but the other
piece i could probably recite that from memory after watching it once. but i like ike, it has all these subtleties. i didn't even catch it the first three times i watched the video and i watched it many times. but also it is very personalizing, digging into sort of, i don't know if this had been explored in psychology yet, but the idea of peer pressure. i like ike, why don't you like ike? everyone should like ike. >> absolutely. and you know it is ike. you know the candidate. 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 walter reeves, an advertising executive at this time, talks with eisenhower repeatedly and says we need to get you, as an individual, into these short spots. he came up with an idea about eisenhower answers america. the notion was these would be 22nd spots, very short. they would have different individuals asking eisenhower a question about his platform, his policies. what he would do as president. this is where eisenhower was really reluctant, because this required him to spend an entire day in a television studio, rehearsing these 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 how can we present actors and use all of those tools of the trade to present ike in a very effective way? eisenhower, 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 a critique he offered was that he was exasperated after an entire day of filming all of these commercials and he said why don't you just hire an actor? it really does foreshadow the changes that would come in terms of who would qualify, what we think about for the qualifications of the presidency. i am going to play a couple and
i want you to think about all of these production tactics at play with the 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 debt? when prices have doubled in taxes break our backs? and we are still fighting in korea? it is tragic and it is time for a change. >> eisenhower answers america. >> you know what things cost today. high prices are just driving me crazy. >> yes, my name he gets after me about the high cost of living. it is another reason i say it is time for a change. time to get back to an honest dollar and an honest dollar's work. what you notice from those two clips? >> i noticed they were looking up at him at a steep angle,
putting him on a pedestal. like please help us, we need help. >> excellent. great. jenner? >> he kind of uses a unique selling proposition in this, saying short spots. he gives simplistic answers. he has not giving detailed, in- depth answers to it. >> yes, and he is repeating the slogans, you've never had it so good. he is saying what about the cost of living and tries to repeat a specific slogan. it is more specific than the slogan. he can try to refute some of the democratic slogans they are running at. excellent.
>> i think today we can laugh at these because you can clearly see him reading the cue cards. i think at the time this was brilliant because it is a person and eisenhower together and they are talking to each other. it goes one step further than the fireside chats. it is not just personable over the airwaves, it is personable in person, with the candidate and the american people have a chance to directly talk to him about their concerns. >> excellent. and again, it does personalize the conversation that ordinary americans are talking with the president. and if you notice the people they bring and allow him to speak to particular
demographics. women, african americans, trying to bring them into the republican party. and the timing of these matters. so while adlai stevenson purchases longer chunks of time, later at night, what the republican party did is that they purchased expensive slots that were only 30 seconds long. they were maybe a minute long for ike for president spots. they purchased those at the end of the most popular shows. so 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 are capturing viewers who already tuned into a television variety show and they continue to watch that because it fits into those themes, the music that they are familiar with hearing. so what this does is it creates an opportunity for ike the
personality to reach out to new voters and perhaps to reach out to independent voters or people who previously voted for the democratic party. or to emphasize this idea that perhaps you had not voted before, but you are going to reach out to people as media consumers. that is a word used in their campaign and studies of their campaign in the 1950s. this notion of how do we appeal to voters as media consumers? here is another innovation they brought to the campaign trail that you can find through the video library that has all of these programs. 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 is the key thing. they went on camera the night before the election and they talked about what they wanted to do in office. then the election eve special goes from them to scenes of them campaigning around the country. again, it gave that personal connection. the election eve program from 1956 goes a step further, in that they organize ike celebrations across the country. in san francisco, in detroit, and they had cameras they are capturing the surge of support that eisenhower had across the country. and it showed it, linked region to region, through this election eve special and it ended at the white house. again, trying to create a national electorate to overcome different divides.
even class and social status through television. trying to build a new constituency for the republican party through that language of it worked. the 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. i think that is really how you are thinking about a new medium to bring that in that may not have been engaged. and 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 those programs. rather, you are appealing to me
the consumers and finding a way to get them invested emotionally into the political process. so one of the affected things that eisenhower does is he brings these innovations from the campaign trail to the white house itself and it transforms the white house into a production studio and this is literally. they took the basement kitchen of the white house and turned it into a production studio itself 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 ultimately he found ways that he can capitalize on television and get people interested in what he is doing as an individual from the white house.
so he experimented with television the same way fdr experimented with radio and this is on purpose. what robert montgomery talks about is that fdr was innovative and we need to pick up where he left off and take the presidency into the next chapter with television. and so there are a variety of different tactics that he introduces. and in 1954 there is the first televised cabinet meeting and this is available through the c- span archives and i would show you a clip but it is incredibly old and it is not as effective. he was reluctant to have a televised cabinet meeting, that his press secretary said this is a great opportunity and james hagerty said that
television allows you to go to the people and go directly to them without them having to read slanted stories by the press. so the same way to use a new medium to bypass critical coverage in the press and allow eisenhower to connect directly to viewers. so he tries televised cabinet meeting, but the issue with that is that it was incredibly skrip did and as you can imagine they set up cameras and they had scripts that they were reading and it was clear that this was scripted. and they talked about the issues of the day and they did so in a way that did not seem like it was a fly on the wall where you are seeing these discussions. rather it was an opportunity to bring other figures of the presidential administration into the i to talk about
policy. he also had the first televised press conference and this is a true dish and that has become ingrained in the presidency ever since then. but he had reporters and it was not televised live. he had reporters come in, ask certain questions of eisenhower. but at the end of the day james hagerty and robert montgomery were able to edit and cut what they did not 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 and that is the idea
of sitting at his desk and giving an address about a national crisis as it unfolded. i'm going to play this quick clip of an address that he delivers during the little rock crisis when the segregationist, who did not want to integrate schools in little rock, but refused to allow african- american students to enroll in their high school. and so ultimately because brown the board had just been recently been passed, dwight eisenhower decided that it was his role as the president to enforce the decision and sent federal troops to little rock to ensure that these african- american students could enroll and to integrate 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 decision that had been handed down by the supreme court and so think about the controversies we looked at in these debates over race and federal authority versus states rights and how they embroiled in american politics over the previous century. it is this moment of crisis. and he uses television to frame what is happening as it is unfolding. and again think about how this is different from the fireside chats that franklin roosevelt used. >> in the white house in washington dc, we present a special address by the president of the united states. dwight d. 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've spoken from rhode island 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 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 extremist, disorderly mobs have deliberately prevented the carrying out proper orders from the federal court. local authorities have not eliminated that violent opposition. and under the law yesterday i 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 courts order relating to the admission of children to that school. whenever normal agencies proven adequate 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 direct 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. the obstruction of justice still continues. >> so what does he do here? what power does this give him? carolyn? >> so he, as the executive, shows that he is listening to what is happening around the country and he is the first one to have a stake in it and he talks about the executive order that he makes and the supreme court subsequently enforced the brown decision, but as the executive he is showing, yes, i
am the figure that represents the mayor, and i'm here talking about this first. i think that premise is really interesting and important. >> excellent. caitlin? >> 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'm trying to enforce because of a supreme court decision. this is how our laws work. but he does not directly call out -- he calls out, like, the police in little rock, but he puts the emphasis on the demagogue extremists, the people rather than the local government. he doesn't call out the local government there for not enforcing anything, which i think is interesting because in some ways i think he is trying
-- he is not trying to isolate and push them away for not doing their job basically, but he is putting the emphasis on the people and the mob and that they are out of control but is not politicians that are to blame for this.>> why do you think he does that? what is the goal. because that is on purpose. >> i think he is trying to draw them in to the party especially as there undergoing the ship between the democrats and the republican party ideals are beginning to shift and the idea of the southern democratic party is changing and he is trying to pull in southerners and southern politicians into the republican party.>> absolutely. at the same time he is forced to finally take a stance on the little rock crisis and he does feel that it is his obligation to follow the law of the land.
but at the same time the republican national committee is undergoing a variety of studies that they call operation dixie where they are thinking about ways to capitalize on the divides in the party between southern conservatives and more liberal northern democrats that want to act on civil rights. it is a calculated move in terms of how he frames it and you absolutely hit on that.>> i find it kind of ironic that he chose andrew jackson of all people when he was 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. also, one thing he makes very clear that this is to continue off the absolving government point, he makes it clear that this is a last resort.
it is very much the people are not listening to what has been said previously so we have to send the army and to enforce this decision because we are a nation of laws and those laws must be followed. >> excellent. >> i want to highlight what eisenhower said at the beginning. he said i have come to the white house when i could have been in rhode island and that is clearly for visual aspen of this address. it is over the radio and it doesn't matter where he is, but he goes back to the white house to lend credibility to what he is saying and to draw comparisons to -- to jackson and he is trying to lend legitimacy to his actions and the actions of the federal government through the location he's giving the address.>> that is very he.
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 new development that eisenhower recognizes in terms of shifting the power dynamic. and as you mentioned, overwhelmingly it is the president taking that action. and the president dominate television, especially in comparison to congress at this time. so it is part of that visual shift in terms of who is taking action and who is leaving the country and is centering more in executive branch. so to get to the questions that we started today, does television revolutionize the presidency?
or does it just build on trends that are already in place? the something fundamentally change with television and the presidency? >> i think it is a mix of both. i know that is not the best answer but there are always trends in the media and even 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. but i think the biggest thing with television being introduced into the presidency is the idea of immediate institution. douglas gets into that with kennedy a little more but the idea that there are these pr agencies -- like pr comes into existence in this era because there is a way to use the media , not even paid advertising, to
make your message more known and make it credible and make people jump on board and the idea that there are these norms that have to be addressed and understood with television as well. so i think the idea that there is this institution behind television and not just the medium itself. not just the fact that it is visual but that there is an institution surrounding it and what it changes.>> that is excellent and a great observation. and 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 which show that production seen around it and newspapers would report on that and they would say the real excitement was behind the camera and they would describe what is happening. so there is an education that the it comes with the use of television and the implementation of the studio in
the office. >> with television now, it is going to bring more transparency to the executive branch now that they do have visuals and it is being more personable when they get into family's homes and they are gathered around the tv and you get to watch the actual president of speeches and address certain agendas. >> excellent. great. >> i think the use of television is revolutionary in the fact that it changes who can be major party candidates. i think it would've been more difficult for fdr with his polio to be a successful president in the 1950s because his campaign and staff was always doing everything they could to play down his physical ailment. but instead, with television, it is easier to appeal to the
people and i think you will see later candidates like kennedy and reagan used two different backgrounds then the party politics that truman or mckinley or any of the other antebellum presidents came out of. and that, i think at is the biggest change television creates on the presidency.>> it challenges party structures and it allows 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 nicely what comes next on thursday, which is the 1960 election when john f. kennedy does exact that. >> what i was going to say is on the opposite side of that,
as kelly mentioned in the article that we read, you had things like the eisenhower nixon research group that codified a party machine version too. it was less about being the kingmaker and more about taking what the minted money they had, which was millions of dollars, it was not limited -- they did have a budget and figuring out what the most effective way to spend that money was.>> absolutely. so new challenges within the party itself to think about how to adapt and take advantage of the media landscape and the role of individuals 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 is something that stanley kelly talks about
notably in this particular accident. i will give you a brief second to read this. it is part of the reading but i think it gets at the core of what you are talking about in terms of changing party structures. that happened because of public relations and television. so if you are a candidate that is looking to win a presidential nomination from your party, it is telling that this is stanley kelly junior and he is a political scientist at princeton and he is one of the first people to actually study this question of public relations and power dynamics. how would this new industry of public relations is shifting and the power dynamics in american politics during the
1950s. this comes out 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 apply it to your campaign? >> i think you have to become a celebrity. and within your own right politically or otherwise you could be reagan and be an actor or you could be a radio talkshow host, or you become a political celebrity. but either way you have to make publicity for yourself. and in order to capture the public imagination before you talk about your policies, in order to get that attention that you are a person and that you are seeking this nomination and that you -- you are like a
person of the people.>> the importance of a systematic large-scale privately sponsored though the in order to gain political legitimacy. and this is something that john f. kennedy studies and recognizes and uses it in his campaign to win the democratic nomination in 1960. it is notable, as we will talk about on thursday that his challenger was lyndon johnson, the most powerful democrat in the country. and he had all of the authority and working within the democratic party since the time of the new deal, building up his credibility and his a doherty and his ability to manipulate votes in the senate. those were the leading contenders for the democratic
presidential nomination in 1960, and it is very telling that john f. kennedy is on the ticket as president and lyndon johnson is on the ticket as vice president. and saw how that came about and the 1960 campaign when we have conflicting ideas about who should have authority, all of that will be the story we look into on thursday. 6
message to troops as they prepare for the assault at normandy. [video clip] soldiers -- >> soldiers, sailors, and airmen, you are about to embark on a big crusade . the eyes of the world are upon you. the hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. in company with brave allies and brothers in arms under their fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the german war machine, the elimination of nazi terror, and security for ourselves in a free world.