Raising voters How TV changed elections Let’s talk about television and politics. Did you know that the average American watches 5 hours of television every day? [Television static] The first national television channels began broadcasting in 1941 while President Franklin Roosevelt was still in office. Before television, Roosevelt was famous for his fireside chats over the radio. [Radio music] The first presidential debate on television was in 1960 between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Good evening. The television and radio stations of the United States and their affiliated stations are proud to provide facilities for a discussion of issues in the current political campaign by the two major candidates for the presidency. A presidential debate is like a fight between two boxers, but instead of trading blows, the two candidates trade mini speeches. [Gibberish] With the first televised debate, people at home go watch for themselves and decide who they thought was the winner. It turned out that television determined the winner. According to radio listeners, Nixon had won the debate by a small margin. On the other hand, television watchers thought that Kennedy had completely beaten Nixon. Can you guess the reason for this difference? [Music] Yes, something as silly sweat made Nixon look sickly and nervous on television The sweat was likely a result of the hot studio lights and a last minute poor makeup job. However, there was more to the story. Nixon had just spent two weeks in a hospital for an infection and lost 20 pounds. Kennedy had been campaigning in sunny California and preparing for the debates in a hotel. In the end Kennedy, won the television debates and the election. As time went on, television and movies became more important in American life in American elections. Ronald Reagan, the 40th president, was originally a Hollywood heartthrob. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became the governor of California in 2003, was best known as a Hollywood action hero famous for his phrase “I’ll be back”. More recently, Donald Trump won the presidential election of 2016. While Trump is a businessman, he may be more famous to the average American as the TV host and producer of The Apprentice, with his trademark phrase “You’re fired”. Today social media and online videos are starting to replace television. While technology provides better communication, there are concerns too, like the difference between what is online and what is real? [Neigh] Videos can affect how people vote, but we wouldn’t want a presidential election to become a beauty contest. So here’s a question for you: How will television and videos influence your political choices? Leave your answer in the comments below. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and visit us at our site RaisingVoters.com.