Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kennedy v Nixon First Presidential Debate 1960

This debate ( video | 58m35s ) took place in 1960 between JFK and Richard Nixon. It was the first pres debate to be broadcast on TV, three more were done but I dunno if I'll review them.

Debate Review

The debate focused on domestic policy issues. Kennedy started out by comparing the current state of poverty, technology and science in the US with that of those Red Atheists to the East and noting how crappy our situation is. He even reaches out to the minorities. Nixon, being apart of the administration that Kennedy is criticizing is automatically on the defensive and starts to compare the progress made by the Eisenhower admin compared to the Truman admin. He concludes that Kennedy is just gonna rehash policies from the Truman admin, which obviously sucked compared to the Eisenhower admin.

Of course Nixon said all this in a pretty cordial way. He kept talking about how he agreed with Kennedy and how legit of a guy Kennedy was, regardless of being wrong. This is just too nice for what I'm used to! Especially for politics. Both guys said pretty much nothing in terms of content in both their opening speeches, but Kennedy came off as more forceful and passionate about the vague troubles he noted in his opening.

Then each guy got questions from some journalists. One would be asked a question and the other guy would respond to the answer given by his opponent. Kennedy gets asked the first question and responds pretty well. He also says some critical things of Nixon and when Nixon was asked to comment on it he simply says he has no comment. Again, I can't see the politicians of today passing up an opportunity to respond to an opponent or to just simply talk. Nixon dropped the ball on that one.

I'm surprised I lasted this long. Political debates are not that interesting to me because of how vague each guy sounds. I guess Kennedy came off better but Nixon didn't seem all that sweaty or sickly to be fair I am a Hitch fan and he doesn't seem like he preps for too long before his debates...


I decided to review the first debate because it is a famous example used to highlight important facts associated with politics, performance, public image and technology. All of those things (some more than others) are important aspects related to this blog. Mainly, the Kennedy-Nixon debates are known for dividing audiences of differing mediums as to whom won the first debate. Basically, the common musing is that those who listened to the debate, thought Nixon won. Those that watched the debate, thought that Kennedy won. The Wikipedia article on the debate has some objections to this musing, but the debate is still a pretty easy to explain example for how important the couple o' things I mentioned in the first sentence are towards swaying your audience to agree with your position.

I have decided to focus on audio/video debates for this blog. There is a wealth of written and transcribed debates out there that I suggest you all check out but because they don't meet all the features I enjoy in a debate I have decided not to include reviews of them. And I should further mention that I mostly listen to the audio of these debates. So basically, I would have thought that Nixon won...well, kinda.

Because of how this blog is the most important thing to me in my entire life, ever - I have decided to try and watch the debates as well, at least the popular ones or the ones that I have rated the highest. There are debates out there that are only available in audio or video. The latter is easy to fix, just don't watch it and listen but the former isn't so easy to trouble-shoot. Some of the favorite debates are audio only, I wonder if that would change if I watched the video of one of those debates. I always find it kind of funny to think of debates where it sounds like the guy is bombing terribly but for all I know, the audience is in tears because of how powerful his gesticulations are in demonstrating the soundness of his arguments...or something.


Technical: The VQ is fine, black and white...but duh. Your left ear will LOVE the debate but your right ear will want JFK and Nixon to speak up...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be a jerk!