Michael Deaver, the Vicar of Visuals, 1938-2007
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Before there was James Carville and Carl Rove, there was Michael Deaver, father of the presidential photo-op and stage master to the Ronald Reagan White House. As the Washington Post wrote in last week's Sunday front page obit, Deaver was "the media maestro who shaped President Ronald Reagan's public image for 20 years, transforming American politics with his powerful gift for image-making."
NPR On the Media devotes a segment to Deaver in this week's program, interviewing Reagan biographer Edmund Morris (listen to audio above.) In the interview, when asked about the secret of Deaver's success, Morris says that Deaver had an instinct for what was important and what was simple. He realized that a public brought up on television was more impressed with how things looked than how things sound.
Ironically, while image craft was his gift to modern politics, it was also his political undoing. Deaver resigned from his post as deputy chief of staff at the White House in 1985. His resignation came after a photo-op he arranged for President Reagan at the military cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany, drew loud protest from Jewish groups, who called attention to the 49 Nazi SS soldiers who were buried there.
He then embarked on a lucrative lobbying career, only to be undone by a Time magazine cover picturing him working the phones as a limousine lobbyist. The cover launched a grand jury and Congressional investigation of lobbying practices by former government officials. Deaver was later convicted of committing perjury during the investigation.
Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.
- Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
- 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
- On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.
- Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
- Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
- Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
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