Politics Corrupted by Campaign Contributions and Mass Media Gimmickry
This is too obvious to be even worth mentioning these days. But Senator John F. Kennedy warned us in 1959 that political campaign contributions and TV gimmickry might have a corrupting influence on our political system.
He wrote an article in TV Guide titled “A Force That Has Changed The Political Scene.” His article said in part:
“It is in your power to perceive deception, to shut off gimmickry, to reward honesty, to demand legislation where needed. Without your approval, no TV show is worthwhile and no politician can exist.”
He warned that television could be misused for “manipulation, exploitation and gimmicks. It can be abused by demigods, by appeals to emotions and prejudice and ignorance.”
He also warned us about political campaigns being taken over by “public relations experts. Political shows like quiz shows can be fixed—and sometimes are.”
And he warned us about the “financial cost.”
“If all parties and candidates are to have equal access to this essential and decisive campaign medium, without becoming deeply obligated to the big financial contributors … then the time has come when a solution must be found to this problem of TV costs.”
Between this article by Senator Kennedy and President Eisenhower's warning a few months later about the Military Industrial Complex — we can't say they didn't warn us.