In The Conservative Treehouse thread on Donald Trump’s visit to Detroit, which I covered on Sunday, one of the site’s readers shared a bit of television history.

She works in captioning and is in her 30s. She did not know the following about televised news, which is in Episode 5 of the eight-part documentary Television. Episode 1 is below:

In it, she says she was surprised to discover (emphases mine):

Sponsors (like Camel Cigarettes) had great control over the content of the news. For example, news could not show politicians smoking cigars, except for Winston Churchill.

John F. Kennedy’s campaign worked with CBS to make him look better compared to Richard Nixon. This information came straight from the people who did it, it’s not a conspiracy theory. Among the tricks: They told Nixon to wear a light suit because the background would be dark. However, they used a light background, and JFK “just happened” to show up in a dark suit. They kept the studio too warm knowing that Nixon was prone to sweating, and that it would make his makeup look awful. They had the candidates stand knowing that Nixon had a bad leg and it would cause him to shift his weight (looking nervous or untrustworthy).

The press (in particular Sam Donaldson, who was interviewed for this program) dismissed Reagan’s huge rallies as being stacked with supporters just for show, and claimed that there were no people “off the streets”. However, they did seem to indicate that the huge rallies worked to sway public opinion, which was interesting considering that so many are dismissive of DJT’s yuge crowds now (which are NOT rigged).

I remember that bit about Reagan rallies.

My mother and I used to discuss that often in 1980. She, a Reagan supporter, was sure they were real. I, a John Anderson supporter by then (originally Jimmy Carter), said they were fake.

See how much misplaced faith I had in television news in my early 20s?

I agree with the lady, who concluded that we are very fortunate to have the Internet and alternative means of news which get us away from Big Media.