Selling presidents since 1952

  • Feb 19, 2015


“Advertising agencies have tried openly to sell presidents since 1952,” wrote Joe McGinniss in his seminal 1969 book, The Selling of the President 1968.

And the fact that his observation seems almost quaint in today’s media-saturated political culture suggests that we’ve failed to heed the warning.

Today, more than ever, presidential candidates aren’t so much presented to us as they are sold to us like products—packaged, branded, and target-marketed to various consumer groups. It’s hardly an ideal way to choose leaders, but how many of us, especially young people, ever stop to think about that, much less factor it into our voting?

Sounds like a great topic for classroom study, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, the bright folks at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image have put together an online exhibition entitled The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012, an exhaustive archive of campaign commercials accompanied by free, common core standards-based lesson plans in English Language Arts and Social Studies.

It’s all you’ll need to launch your own eye-opening study in media literacy and critical thinking.

Check it out for yourself. Visit The Living Room Candidate today.

And to receive more information about great educational resources like this, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


Got any budding journalists in your classroom? Tell them how to submit a report to CNN Student News.

  • Oct 24, 2014


That’s right. All they’ll need is a camera and a good story.

They might even end up on TV!

CNN’s popular iReport project invites students age 13 and older to file a news report, share their opinions, or just give a shout out to a favorite teacher. Videos can be uploaded for immediate viewing, and the best ones may even be selected to appear on CNN Student News (streaming weekdays on, and also available as a podcast).

It’s a great way for any young person interested in a journalism career to get some valuable experience. Not to mention exposure. A featured report on CNN Student News would look mighty impressive on a college admissions essay. So spread the word!

Check out the video below for details, and for more information visit CNN iReport.

And to receive more information about opportunities like this, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

 —Stephen Vincent D’Emidio