Late-night presidential strategy: a historical review of the first 40 years of presidential campaign use of late-night talk show appearances
T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f U t a h G r a d u a t e S c h o o l STATEMENT OF DISSERTATION APPROVAL The dissertation of Marie Jackson has been approved by the following supervisory committee members: Nickieann Fleener , Chair ABSTRACT This study chronicles the first 40 years of appearances by presidential candidates on late-night talk television beginning with Nixon and Kennedy in 1960 to Bush and Gore in 2000. This dissertation exposes a historical trend in presidential campaigning and
... paigning and uncovers an increasing use of late-night talk television as a political communication forum. Media use and influence have evolved from campaign to campaign and by the 2000 campaign, late-night talk show appearances were seemingly obligatory. Presidential campaigns are important to the governance of our country and our democratic society. Through these elections, the authority of the government is given by the approval of the American people. The quality of any particular election is a function of the interplay among candidates, media and voters. The media's role in this process is the conduit disseminating information, which voters learn about their candidate. The changing media environment, where television has become the primary source of political information and changes in how news covers elections, has influenced candidate strategies creating the use of alternative media venues. In today's mass media culture, voters seem to want more than just speeches and policy papers from their candidates. They want to get to know them as people. Media uses have shifted towards the age of image politics with the consequence of millions of voters make their decisions about candidates based on personal characteristics and iv likeability. Research has shown that personal qualities or "likeability" are stronger predictors of voter choices than issues or ideology.