Chelsea Clinton’s Speech vs Ivanka Trump’s Speech – who won?
Both of the Presidential candidate’s daughters spoke a week apart at the respective conventions. Both are young and attractive women and mothers. Both spoke with praise about their parents. For both it was the most important speech of their lives and in front of the biggest audience ever.
Chelsea Clinton talked of her mother’s love for service and her great skills and love as a mother and grandmother. In contrast Ivanka Trump’s speech was about her dad’s focus on his business career.
If you were reading the text of each speech, they both supported their parents and described what they are well known for. But that is not how TV works.
Back in 1964 Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase: “The Medium is the Message.” He wrote all about it in his most widely known book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964. McLuhan proposes that a medium itself, not the content it carries, should be the focus of study. McLuhan said that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself.
So put the content of the speeches aside, and think back on how the ladies presented. One person had a clear advantage and expertise performing on TV. That was Ivanka Trump. She has co-hosted her dad’s national TV show “The Apprentice” and spoke with ease to the thousands in the stadium and the millions tuning in. She was confident, paused when she needed to and looked like she had made dozens of similar speeches before. She definitely has the training and like her dad she knows how to put on a show.
Chelsea Clinton, not so much. Chelsea has made speeches before, but she’s more tentative, not a commanding presence as all. While pleasant, she is not a forceful personality. Subtly, she came across as lacking confidence.
Donald Trump does not have a lot of substance in what he says, but his bombastic, argumentative and dominating presence his taken him to the top of the Republican ticket. None of his competitors work TV the way Trump does.
One of the big knocks on Hillary Clinton is that people don’t know who she is – they don’t know her; therefore they don’t trust her. Even when TV media are friendly to her, the TV medium is not.
Does the top TV performer always win? The Trumps hope so.
Fun to watch.