Neil Postman’s “Reach Out and Elect Someone” discusses how commercials use emotional appeals and “not tests of truth.” Commercials deal with what is wrong about the buyer, not about what is right about a product. Commercials make it seem like all problems can be solved instantly. They sell solutions instead of presenting questions or problems. Political campaign commercials do the same thing. They deal with what is wrong with the nation, this ties into how the potential president could fix these problems.
This is shown through the “First Obama Presidential Ad.” In this commercial, is starts off by asking if we participate in politics of cynicism or politics of hope. It then says to replace fear with hope. This shows what is wrong with people in our nation-that they are fearful. It then presents a solution- replacing the fear with hope. It then deals with Obama’s ways to replace fear with hope, through giving everyone the opportunity to get jobs that pay living wages, that no one should be bankrupt when they get sick, that everyone should have access to decent healthcare, that every school should be adequately funded, and that every child should have the opportunity to learn ad go to college, even if they don’t have a lot of money. Obama then puts his arm around a smiling little girl and bends down so he is on her eye level. Obama positions himself on her eye level to show that he is not talking down to her and that he respects her. This scene lasts a few seconds on the screen to emphasize the emotional appeal to make the image stick in the audiences’ heads. The commercial then says how he believes every citizen should retire with dignity and respect. As this is being said, he is hugging a smiling senior citizen. This image is shown very slowly so it stays on the screen for a while. This shows the emotional appeal that sticks in the viewers’ heads. The commercial ends with the line, “We can make the right choices with challenges that face us.” “Believe Again” then flashes across the screen as Obama shakes hands with someone smiling. This shows the solution to challenges that people face. The solution is to make the right choice by electing Obama as President.
Clearly Obama cannot give everyone the opportunity to get jobs that pay living wages, or to give everyone the access to decent healthcare, or give everyone the opportunity to go to college, etc. He is just stating things that appeal to viewers. These are things that people would like, whether they are all realistic or not. If Obama became President, would everyones’ fear really be replaced with hope? Obviously not. He is just trying to appeal emotionally to the viewers, so these images stick in their heads when they are voting for President.
The link to this commercial is here:http://http://youtube.com/watch?v=UPy7RnHwvmA&feature=related