Shifts in the campaign films “The Sky is the Limit” by George Bush and “A New Beginning” by Ronald Reagan must have been very evident to expert media critics, but were not at all noticeable for average reasonable television viewers, making the films more effective materials in campaign. Let us first take a look at the campaign film of George Bush. The first of the film “A New Beginning” engaged the viewers to listen and take a look at Bush’ personal life. It contained clips of Bush’ father, mother and wife talking about him and that is where “personal” or “emotional appeal” comes in, because it was the family of Bush speaking.
Bush’ parents talked about how loving and wonderful he is as a son. Even his love life was discussed by his wife, telling the audience that Bush is a type of person who keeps his words which he proved when he married Laura right away as promised. At this early part of the film, the film seemed to be just a simple documentary of George Bush’ personal life, until a clip of George Bush saying “I am the person who likes to smile” came in. He was saying that he likes to laugh, with his face extremely closed up while driving, followed by a very short clip showing himself laughing at a political assembly.
This, then, is the start of political campaign and is also the first shift in the movie. The shift was made very subtly, though, because there was a mix of personal appeal and political campaign. The next clip was Carlos Ramirez talking about Bush being a person full of family values. While the topic was still very personal, the interviewee was a political person, Carlos Ramirez being the mayor of El Paso. With this, the combination of politics and personal appeal was created, signaling the second shift that was about to happen.
This is indeed a clue that the next shift will be from personal-political to something that’s purely political. The third shift is marked by an interview with Ernie Ladd, a co-founder of a mentoring program for leadership called “PULL. ” Ernie Ladd was talking about Bush’ performance as a leader. When the topic is about leadership, it clearly shows that the current focus of the clip was into politics. To soften the blow, Bush was shown on TV again, being back to a regular guy for another shot at personal appeal.
Then again, it was still political because here, he was talking about change. At first, he was sympathizing over children who were coming from very difficult situations and comparing it to his wonderful life. He said he wanted to change this and make lives better for all children, while uttering the purely political line “This is the reason why I want to run as a governor of Texas. ” The campaign, at this stage, is at its full swing. Another shift was created, but this time, there was an effort in emphasizing the goals of Bush in the elections.
Phyllis Hunter, a representative from READ of the state of Texas, talked about changed which Bush caused in the state. She further explained the positive changes which took place in Texas which may not have been impossible without Bush. “She gave testimonials on how helpful Bush is as a person which can be seen through her exact words, I have seen a big difference since he has been governor of the state of Texas in the amount of supports that we have to help us as educators reach the standards. He said if you need it, we’ll get it for you.
We have websites, we have grant programs, we have teacher training in the state of Texas, and we have George leading the way (Parmelee, 2003, p. 52). ” From this point, the film became highly political because what were shown were purely campaign materials. There was Bush talking to kids while reading their letters to him, in which a letter even contained a wish for Bush to win. Here, Bush tells the kids that he hopes he wins, too. This campaign material was given drama and personal appeal when the kids were involved.
Lastly, Bush was uttering the words “I’m confident I can do the job that people want me to do. I’m a proud member of my party, but I’m more than that; I’m an American. I love my country. I love what America stands for. I’m going to remind people that we’re lucky to be Americans (Parmelee, 2003, p. 52). ” Ending the film is a song entitled “We the People” matched with a loud applause. Ronald Raegan’s film “A New Beginning”, on the other hand, starts with a footage of his inauguration. While uttering his constitutional oath, a montage of Americans leading a normal life was overlapping with his voice.
His oath, then, functioned as a voice over to regular citizens who tended animals, tilled the lands, worked in offices, and the likes. It was indeed a technique that made the film strong because the film was able to make portray that the heroes of the United States are the Americans, and not Ronald Raegan himself. From this scene, a shift was made to Raegan talking about how he finds his job in the political arena, saying that “hearing honest views while having meetings” coming from the executive branch of the government makes him inspired as a political leader.
After mentioning people from the executive branch, the film shifts to ordinary people again, giving testimonials on how they have learned values like patriotism, respect and pride because of Reagan. It was in the fourth shift when a sudden change can be noticed, because the music suddenly became dramatic, having the lyrics “Freedom, they can’t take that away, I am proud to be an American” as a contributing factor to the emotional appeal.
This part extended to a few minutes (as long as the whole song) and converted the film temporarily into a music video until it was cut to a few clips showing Reagan’s trips to demilitarized zones in Asia. In this shift, the film showcased the military power of a country where Reagan shows how delighted he is to hear pride among soldiers. He then meets the soldiers from South Korea and greets then one by one with the words “I am proud to know you. ” This way, he is sending the message that we should emulate his behaviour of acknowledging these soldiers or “heroes” everytime we see them.
Testimonials from ordinary Americans are inserted again, in which everyone says that they get to spend more money and they can feel the progress of the economy since Raegan led the nation. The topic of inflation was also discussed, with statistics mentioned to prove that he is most concerned with inflation and security of elders. The music in this scene is lively and victorious, followed, again, by testimonials from other people. The most dramatic shift comes with the topic of the assassination attempt on him.
This part was purely emotional and personal, sharing to the audience the moment he talked to the doctor and the doctor told him “God must be on your shoulder. ” However, an abrupt change occurred when a sudden lively music entered the scene, showing again his trips to Asian countries. This time, he says that people go to the West, which shows that the West, then, provides future for the people. He says that Americans have a lot to offer, which brought a change on the clip by inserting a clip about the World War II veterans who risked and sacrificed their lives at Point d’Hoc.
He tells us that men these days can be found in offices, stores, farms and shops as a result of a free society all because the military force helped the nation achieve it. After this, the film becomes political when Reagan started talking about reform, simplifying taxes and creating enterprise zones and business incentives. From this, he also talks about peace which he achieved because he is helping people. The film ended with the song God Bless The USA (Morreale, 1991, p. 84). The values common to these two films are pride, patriotism, generosity, leadership, spirituality and respect.
What makes these films different are how these two define themselves. Bush defines himself as a person full of family values, someone who wants to make everybody happy, respectful of his parents, wanting to create change, full of optimism and reaching big dreams, in which his being a family-person and wanting to create change is emphasized. Reagan defines himself as a person who respects heroes, full of patriotism, prioritizes economy of the nation, advocates freedom, spiritual and a peace-lover. In this, his respect for heroes or military and his patriotism are emphasized.
Musical scores that are lively and victorious support the progress, dreams and freedom the candidates are portraying in the film. The sentimental songs support the personal and emotional appeal of the film, which helped in making the audience feel what the candidates wanted them to feel. Visual images also had a role – American flags, innocent kids, boy scouts, soldiers, baseball, laughter, sunrises – all these promoting a positive vibe for their personality, making the candidates look as more positive individuals in front of the camera.
Courtney from Study Moose
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