Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate Kabuki 

It is amusing to watch the build-up to the debates between the two presidential candidates. No one is talking about substance. There won't be any. Everyone is focusing on style. There will be plenty of that. It seems to me that we have reached the "why bother" stage of debating. The only effective communication left is whether one is sweating and the other isn't, whether one smiles pleasantly and the other smirks, whether one seems confident and the other circuitous.

I suppose there is something to learn from that, but it seems darn little. It's the equivalent of a Miss America beauty contest. Maybe we should award points on the basis of John Kerry's tan.

I am far from alone in wondering why and how election communications have degenerated so far into imagery and away from issues. This bastardization of campaigning is certainly not new. In the 19th Century, campaign managers were adept at the same thing. Has it always been thus? If so, what does that say about the concept of public relations being built on facts?

I should review my assumptions about the business.


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