Weekend Gallimaufry - an interview with Joe McGinnis, author of The Selling Of The President: 1968 and the changing atmosphere for electing a President. Interviewed for Harper's Magazine radio series At Issue in February 1970.
January 22, 2012

Perhaps before 1968 it was more subtle, but probably not.

During all the recent brouhaha over Joe McGinnis' Sarah Palin adventures, it hadn't occurred to me (or a lot of people, for that matter) that this was the same Joe McGinnis who wrote the landmark non-fiction book The Selling of The President: 1968, in which McGinnis detailed, perhaps for the first time in history, the inner-machinations of electing a President in the United States by means of Public Relations and Marketing.

Since 1968 was a particularly bloody year for politics, the release of this book, chronicling the events and the marketing behind a Presidential campaign were revelatory. No one had done it before, and the end result was looking at the whole process of selecting a President much differently than ever before.

That's not to say there weren't elaborate ad campaigns and Advertising Agencies involved in Political campaigns before 1968, we just weren't privy to them in a way we became after that election.

Here is a radio interview with Joe McGinnis, done for the weekly syndicated series At Issue for Harper's Magazine in February 1970.

Yes, things were rather different back then.

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