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Fact or Fiction: TV Politics
by Staff
Television and politics go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or, peanut butter and seaweed, depending on who you ask. Some say television offers a huge amount of information to the general public, and others would argue it dumbs down political discourse to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Whether TV is good or bad for democracy, the two have a long history together. See what you know about it in our TV and politics quiz.

Fact or Fiction: In 1993, Bill Clinton appeared on MTV, making him the first presidential candidate to answer the question "boxers or briefs?" on national television.

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Fact or Fiction: Rosser Reeves, the real life mad man who designed Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower's 1952 presidential campaign, first designed a campaign for M&M's candy.

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Fact or Fiction: Political ads account for 50 to 75 percent of all campaign budgets.

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Fact or Fiction: The famous "Checkers" speech that saved vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon from being ousted from the 1952 presidential ticket was named for Nixon's beloved cat.

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Fact or Fiction: According to research, political ads are more important than debates or news reports to inform a voter's view of the election, the candidates and the issues.

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Fact or Fiction: Before television, debates between presidential candidates were so marginalized in American politics that during the 1940 election, FDR turned down a debate challenge by Republican candidate Wendell Wilkie.

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Fact or Fiction: After the 1960 debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, no televised debates were held between presidential candidates until 1976.

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Fact or Fiction: During his 1952 bid for the presidency, Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson refused to air political ads, deciding instead to buy up 30 minute blocks of network television time to make direct addresses to the American people.

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Fact or Fiction: President John F. Kennedy became the first acting president to address the nation on television, in 1961.

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Fact or Fiction: The White House Office of Communications was introduced in 1952 by President Dwight Eisenhower.

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Fact or Fiction: The first ever presidential debate was held in 1858, between Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln and Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas.

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Fact or Fiction: Many analysts and historians agree that one of the effects of television has been an increase in power and visibility for the office of the president.

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Fact or Fiction: According to a 2004 poll, 61 percent of Americans under 30 claimed that they learned something new about the presidential election from a late night talk show.

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Fact or Fiction: Because of the TV news cycle, elected officials like the president usually make important announcements first thing in the morning, so the story will be carried on cable news throughout the day.

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Fact or Fiction: Political party conventions were introduced after the popularity of television, as a way to dramatize the nomination process.

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Fact or Fiction: In 1959, future presidential candidate John F. Kennedy wrote about on the transformative power of television in politics for an article published in "TV Guide."

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Fact or Fiction: In the early 19th century, presidential candidates weren't expected to campaign for themselves. Activities like making stump speeches were considered below the nominees.

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Fact or Fiction: Television has increased the power of political parties, by giving them a wider platform to disseminate information.

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Fact or Fiction: Political party conventions have only been televised in recent years, starting with the 1992 election.

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Fact or Fiction: In the 1972 election, Democratic presidential nominee hopeful Ed Muskie's campaign rocketed to success after President Richard Nixon was caught on camera shedding tears at a press conference.

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