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Celluloid Presidency

In: Social Issues

Submitted By thomasestes
Words 2266
Pages 10
The Celluloid Presidency Literally millions of dollars are spent calculating, measuring, and predicting presidential approval ratings by campaigns, pollsters, and pundits. All this money and effort is expended so that political elites can get into the heads of the American people. But what if people are much less sophisticated in their political decision making? What if they just react to stimulus they are provided with little to no regard to the quality of that that stimulation? While many factors go into forming the public’s opinion about the President and the job he’s doing what if one the biggest factors is how the President is portrayed in the media. Not the news media, but on the silver screen. The Clinton Presidency has its shares of ups and downs but it also had several movies that featured the President of the United States as a character. Did these film’s change people’s opinions of President Clinton based on how they portrayed their fictional presidents? Observing approval ratings during President Clinton’s tenure in office we can see if a pattern emerges that is consistent with the portrayal of the President in various films during the Nineties, and if that change correlates with box office receipts, which will serve as a measure of viewership. President Clinton took office on January 20, 1993 and like most presidents his approval ratings started out artificially high. Having won the 1992 Presidential campaign with only 42% of the vote his approval rating started at 58% with 20% disapproving and 22% having no opinion (Gallup). And while many things happened five months later on May 7, 1993 Warner Bros. Pictures released “Dave” a modern take on the Prince and the Pauper where a corrupt President Mitchell after a stroke is switched for a lookalike, Dave, by his chief of staff Bob Alexander. Dave was meant to be used as a puppet by the villainous...

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