The power of example vs the example of power

discussion re book: The Power and the Story

author Evan W. Cornog, PhD. dean, Columbia school of Journalism and was press secratery

He is the author of, The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush (2004); Hats in the Ring: An Illustrated History of American Presidential Campaigns [with Richard Whelan] (2000); The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828 (1998)

key takeaways:

it seems people need to hear a good story

we are in the age of soundbites which are powerful in memory.

e.g “John Kennedy was a friend of mine”.

political campaigns are not about debates or opinions, but a battle of stories, crafting images and reputation.

journalism is losing its value-add. no longer more of a point of view or predicting the future.

humor is very powerful, devastating.


in political candidacy, it seems to matter less if the story is true, you need a powerful personal narrative.

think how many ‘heros’ in our lives, including sports teams actually write a story.

it is tough to change a story, but it is possible (red sox).

we are now seeing the end of the free-market reagan narrative. now, regulation is american motherhood like apple pie. democrats are out of a narrative for a long time. roosevelt built it, it lost touch with lack of inclusion of afro-americans since the 60s, and now the democratic party is coming up with a new story

the press has a strong role here. see jefferson comments.


it seems this is more american than rest of the world, but difference is decreasing.

why? party system is loosing power vs candidate. age of celebirty

the post debate analysis is just as important as the debate.

you tube is powerful in this reconciliation. that is hard to over-turn


A sound bite is an audiolinguistic and social communications phenomenon whose nature was recognized in the late 20th century, helped by people such as Marshall McLuhan. It is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that deftly captures the essence of what the speaker is trying to say. Such key moments in dialogue (or monologue) stand out better in the audience’s memory and thus become the “taste” that best represents the entire “meal” of the larger message or conversation. Sound bites are a natural consequence of people placing ever greater emphasis on summarizing ever-increasing amounts of information in their lives.

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