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Since the beginning of television in the 1940s, it has played a major role in marketing, commercials, and most intensively—most controversially— in presidential elections. Since 1960, presidents discussing their political ideology is not a guarantee for presidential victory, rather it is character, demeanor, presentability, and more than determining the verdict. This is all facilitated by media outlets. However, as the media has played a critical role in providing information and exposing corruption, the magnitude of manipulating information, introducing beauty standards, and weak unification has had a negative influence on presidential elections.

It is well known that just like people manipulate numbers to prove a point, that media coverage manipulates presidential video clips, and cut-out tweets to prevail a message—their own message. In Source F, the news program “Nightline” is known to take boring segments of a political debate and twist them into a short, concise video alternating what expressions, voice range, and political viewpoints they want to showcase on their network. Most people justify this by mentioning that it is to express political viewpoints in a short amount of time or make it more appealing. However, all the “Nighttime” programs and many other networks are doing is cutting out what they want to show, eliminating what they do and don’t want viewers to know which can be harmful and cause inaccurate images of presidential opponents.

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In the first-ever presidential televised campaign in the Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates, it would seem most logical that with greater access to opponents’ viewpoints, more people would be inclined to listen. But the exact opposite has occurred. It appears that the televised campaigns favored Kennedy because of his younger, handsome appearance as opposed to Nixon’s bland and boring face. This is shown in Source C as “looks triumph content” and looks are what determines a president, not presidential readiness. It goes even further to remark that as people liked Kennedy more on television, the exact opposite was for radio. Showing that beauty, once again, triumphs presidentially.

Source A claims that television in the presidential election has unified us, that the “people” have become a “nation” again increasing “public communication”. However, is this really the case? Many claim the Kennedy-Nixon elections unified the nation in a time during the Cold War, but as mentioned before is selecting a prettier president over an uglier one showcasing unity? Back then it would seem that the nation was unified in watching the first-ever televised campaign, but that was only due to the fact that it was something new not that it actually had an impact. Nowadays it is almost impossible to unify a nation. With party lines forming rigid entry lines, the general public is forced into a polarized system of pick-an-choose. Not very unifying.

With increasing polarization, it is easy to miss the negative aspects of the media in presidential elections. But as we analyze deeper into the matter, the hidden codes of manipulation of video clips, viewership perspective on beauty, and false hopes of any sort of unification create a larger divide that would otherwise have been smaller.

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