Living Room Candidate — If you’ve had enough of the 2008 election, how about looking to the past? The Living Room Candidate website is a beautifully-designed online exhibit from the Museum of the Moving Image, showcasing presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to 2008. You can explore by year and read a short article about each candidate’s television strategy, or browse by type of commercial (biographical, fear, real people, etc.) or by issue (corruption, taxes, war, etc.)
But the amazing thing here is that you don’t just read about the commercials, you can watch them online and draw your own conclusions about how fair, accurate and effective they were. These primary sources are invaluable for media studies and political history.
Some of these are quite entertaining, too. I love the contrast between two 1952 commercials, Eisenhower’s cartoon “Ike for President” and Stevenson’s torchy “I Love the Gov.” commercial.
The site also has teaching resources, links to related sites, and social features like the ability to save and share playlists. The site also includes transcripts for all commercials, and code for embedding them on blogs and webpages, as I am doing here.
Site Guide — Some people have had problems getting the video to work, but the content here is so interesting and valuable it’s definitely worth the effort to work through the configuration issues.