High-Definition Politics

Dave Hoffman of Concurring Opinions thinks I'm all out of focus on how HDTV may impact political performance:

The thing that Drum, Sullivan, and others seem to forget is that we're simply switching one set of distortions for another. Politicians have responded to low definition t.v. with a set of tools: makeup, hair stylists, careful tailors. They will likely respond to clearer t.v. with moves that, at least on one reading, are more substantively related to well-being: working out more, eating better foods, and coming out as hair-challenged.

But even were this new advance in the medium of political communication to be 100% immersive - if we had hyper-realistic media transmission systems that let you smell Fred Thompson's Gucci loafers - the way that we experience politicians, news, indeed, any informational stimulus would still be biased and culturally contingent. That bias isn't external to the viewer, it is all in our heads.

Sure. My point is not that we won't in due course adjust - but that in the period of adjustment, there will be winners and losers. Bush lost on HDTV last week. I bet his handlers noticed. Better make-up next time.