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In answer to the query:
"> I'm writing a piece on television and politics in the US, focusing in
> particular on how the fact that public discourse in America occurs
> primarily through an entertainment medium affects politics. George Bush
> setting out the cultural choices before the American family as The Waltons
> vs The Simpsons, Newt Gingrich reducing complex policy issues to movies,
> Bob Dole doing Saturday Night Live etc."
 
 
You might take note of the work of Edward Bernays (sp?), the "father" of modern
public relations.  Bill Moyers did a whole show on him--he virtually invented
tv campaigning with the "I Like Ike" commercials.  On the other hand, Richard
Nixon's political comeback might have been insured by his brief appearance on
ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN, intoning "Sock it to *me*?"   I would say it was
maybe the only time he displayed a sense of humor--except that is was probably
a calculated political ploy.
 
You might also recall that there was something of a flap when Ford's Press
Secretary Ron Nessen hosted SNL.
 
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)