By Administrator_ India
The first televised debates started almost exactly 60 years ago, on September 26, 1960 in Chicago as then Massachusetts Senator John F Kennedy faced off against the sitting Vice-President Richard Nixon. An ailing Nixon was pale and sweating during the telecast and that made a difference, as History Channel noted, “Polls revealed that more than half of all voters had been influenced by the Great Debates, while 6 percent claimed that the debates alone had decided their choice. Whether or not the debates cost Nixon the presidency, they were a major turning point in the 1960 race — and in the history of television.”
In fact, those who listened in to the debates on the radio believed Nixon did as well or equalled Kennedy’s performance. Those who were watching, however, skewed towards the Democrat. This may well have created political image management, a phenomenon that continues to dominate politics not just in the United States, but globally.
Twenty years later, then California Governor Ronald Reagan surged in the polls following the debates. As an actor with a past career in Hollywood, he gave practised performances for the cameras, with zingers like, “There you go again!” Sitting President Jimmy Carter offered little charisma to counter him.