Michael Deaver, the Vicar of Visuals, 1938-2007
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.
Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.
- During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
- If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.
- SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
- A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
- A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
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