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Reason and Politics: Maimonides, Television and the Political Imagination

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Publication Date: October 2002

Publisher(s): National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Author(s): Tsvi Blanchard

Series: Politics and Policy Archive

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Media, telecommunications, and information (Television)
Politics (Campaigns, lobbying, and pressure groups)

Keywords: Political Behavior; Television; Culture; Public Policies

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


The author responds to a 2002 New York Times report which states that political strategists have downgraded the importance of television advertising, purportedly in order to replace image and imagination-driven appeals with "reasoned" grassroots campaigns. The author cautions against celebrating this new emphasis, asserting that in the current American reality, politicians always integrate shared imagery and emotional appeals into political efforts, whether on television or in grassroots campaigns. The author warns of dangers facing a society which employs imagination instead of reason in its decisions. He advocates the adoption of reasoned democratic discussion by means of the creation of public spaces for reasoned argument.