Which US president has amused himself the most?
On April 27, 1992, Mandy Grunwald sent a note to the team of US presidential candidate Bill Clinton. Grunwald is responsible for the campaign's advertising strategy and has an urgent concern: It's time to finally drag the candidate onto the nation's late night and entertainment shows.
“What are we waiting for?” It says in the later document of contemporary history. "We know moments of passion, personal memories, and humor get us more than any 60-second quote on the news or 30-second commercials."
At this point in time, politics and the electronic mass media had been converging for decades: from John F. Kennedy as the first US president in the context of the TV age to Ronald Reagan, who models his political image according to his screen roles. Just a year earlier, the US and its television stations staged the Gulf War as a clean action spectacle.
Grunwald suspects that the end of the development is far from being reached. Rather, something is reversed: politics not only mixes with entertainment, it subordinates itself to it.
"I understand that a lot of people will say that this is 'un-presidential'", she defends herself. "Nonsense. This is how people get their information." She prevails.
A month later, Bill Clinton appeared on Arsenio Hall's Late Show. He says that he would have liked to inhale during his kiff experiment during his university days (but didn't know how), put on cheap sunglasses and - accompanied by the studio band - plays the saxophone. The appearance is still one of the iconic moments of the mass media election campaign 25 years later.
Politics as part of reality TV
In the years that followed, it became clear what exactly was happening. 1992 is the serious news program 60 minutes still the most successful television series and CNN the only news channel. Almost a decade later, reality TV successes such as the island broadcast dominate Survivor or the vocal series American Idol the ratings. With Fox News and MSNBC, conservative and progressive Americans can choose their news according to their own political beliefs.
And in 2004, NBC aired the first season of The apprentice out. A real estate entrepreneur can reinvent himself as a presenter in the successful reality manager show. His name: Donald Trump.
The explosion of the most diverse reality formats has led to the fact that the existence of two clearly separated schools is often overlooked: those competitions in which singers, craftsmen, amateur athletes or cooks compete against each other and demonstrate diligence and talent. And the formats in which mostly simply knitted participants collide with each other through resentment, intrigues and other interpersonal relationships and are thus presented to the audience.
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