FORMER GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY "SPARS" WITH
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN 2012 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
The 2012 Presidential Debates have drawn significant national attention in this election season. If we can set aside the rancor and “in-your-face” contentious behavior from both candidates, there is a more fundamental difference between the Presidential debates in 2012 then the very first ever televised debates between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960.
IN 1960, THEN VICE PRESIDENT RICHARD M. NIXON FACES
MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR JOHN F. KENNEDY IN FIRST TELEVISED DEBATE
Today’s 24-hour news cycle and the advent of social media have propelled the national dialogue between presidential candidates to new heights. In addition to the obvious “one-upmanship” that both politicians tried to demonstrate during the 2012 debates, there was the media, the bloggers, and the social media world, that were waiting for either Romney or Obama to commit a major slip-up, a faux-pas, that could then be publicized to the rest of the world, all in real-time. No longer would the “oops!” moment have to wait to become headlines in the major newspapers across the country the next day. We found out about these erroneous or stretched truths almost immediately after the candidate misspoke.
AN ICON OF HIS ERA: PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
In sharp contrast, in 1960’s first televised presidential debate between then Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Massachusetts's Senator, John F. Kennedy, the debates relied on more traditional media channels, such as newspapers and radio, to reach the majority of Americans who were unable to tune in and watch the debates on their black and white television. For those fortunate citizens who could watch the debates on television, the exchange between the candidates was more civil (at least by today’s standards) and more formal in behavior and the presentation of ideas. Each understood the perceived power and influence that this new medium called television could have on the national election. That’s not to say neither Nixon nor Kennedy suppressed their strong opinions about each other, but they certainly didn’t allow themselves to get caught up in intense arguments. Also, each knew the other since January 20, 1947, as they were sworn in as Congressman that cold winter day.
PRESIDENT RICHARD M. NIXON IN HIS STATELY OFFICE
Back in 1960, people had to rely solely on newspapers, magazines, and radio to get their news. And because television was still in its infancy, although considered to be revolutionary at the time, it would be years after that, that watching regular news programming would became a part of our daily lives.
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY'S PRESCRIPTION READING GLASSES, A RARE GEM IN PRISTINE CONDITION, CAN BE VIEWED IN THE RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX PRESIDENTIAL COLLECTION. IT WAS WORN BY PRESIDENT KENNEDY, ALTHOUGH HE RARELY LET HIMSELF BE PHOTOGRAPHED WEARING THEM. THS FACTOID MAKES THIS UNIQUE FIND ALL THE MORE RARE AND VALUABLE.
In essence, the significant advances in technology continue to give rise to faster, more innovative communication methods, allowing important moments in our history, such as national presidential debates, to become more than just a headline in tomorrow’s newspaper. Our thirst for immediate knowledge, using social media for example, will allow for citizen journalists to stimulate conversations and discussions, as well as create controversy. Imagine how the presidential debate of 1960 would have been conducted had it had the advanced communications vehicles that we have today?
RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX,
ONE OF AMERICA'S FOREMOST COLLECTORS OF UNIQUE AND RARE HISTORICAL MEMORABILIA