Election Season, 1988

Update: As of October 21, 2013 there is video related to this post on our website.

With the election quickly approaching, I feel like I’m being flooded with talk of politics from all sides. This has been huge topic on TV with news stories, campaign speeches, and debates, as well as on the radio, my Facebook newsfeed, and here at work with Frontline’s The Choice 2012. I started to feel almost bombarded when I started the section of the Ten O’Clock News collection that I’m working on right now, which is  intensive coverage of the 1988 presidential election,

[caption id="attachment1272" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UnitedStatespresidentialelection,_1988">George Bush and Michael Dukakis George Bush and Michael Dukakis, the Presidnetial Candidates of 1988, courtsey of Wikimedia Commons[/caption]

following the primaries and general elections. This election involved a lot of prominent figures. Some of the highlights from the primaries include:

Al Gore campaigning at Brandies and giving up in Iowa to concentrate on New Hampshire Primary and Super Tuesday.

Joe Biden campaigning throughout Massachusetts.

Bob Dole supporting INF treaty and being criticized for his sharp humor coming across as just being mean.

Jesse Jackson campaigning in Boston and New Hampshire and an analysis of Jackson's dynamic oratory.

and, of course, George Bush and Michael Dukakis. I attribute the massive amount of Ten O’Clock News coverage of this election (over 260 stories!) mainly to the fact that Massachusetts’ very own governor, Michael Dukakis, was named the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

Besides in depth coverage campaigns and of each candidate’s views on labor, foreign policy, environmental protection, the economy, and more, the Ten O’Clock News collection includes less policy-based stories as well. These include multiple stories covering the scandal where John Sasso, Dukakis’ campaign manager, leaked a video showing Joe Biden, who was also running for the Democratic nomination, giving a speech very similar to a British politician. This scandal essentially ended Biden’s campaign, and temporarily ended Sasso’s position in the Dukakis campaign as well. Sasso resigned; however, he was hired back on very late in the election, when Dukakis was slipping.

Working with this section of the collection at the same time as another important election is going on around me, I’m really interested to see what this coverage was like. I wonder how much of a difference there is between today’s political coverage, and coverage from less than 25 years ago. I’d also be excited to see some of these politicians, who went on to serve prominent roles, so much earlier in their careers.

The Boston Local TV News Digital Library also has coverage of other Presidential elections between 1960 and 2000.  Another great resource for those of us interested in Presidential debates is this Dartmouth collection.