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Politics and public image: Linda McMahon benefits from image consultants October 17, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut. Her major problem thus far has been shaking the connection with an industry and form of television that most people consider shady. As Nathan Gonzales, an editor for a political newsletter, stated, “If it’s just a simple referendum on `Do you think wrestling is good television for kids,’ then she’s not going to win.”

However, McMahon has already benefited immensely from image consultants who specialize in remaking political candidates. For many voters, McMahon has successfully transformed her identity from a CEO of a sleazy company to “an entrepreneur who can relate to store owners in a Hispanic business district.” Many politicians new to the scene use similar agencies to rebrand themselves.

To see an ad that exemplifies McMahon’s metamorphosis, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why are audiences so willing to accept re-crafted images of public figures? What does this say about the nature of audience attitudes and beliefs?

2.  Are certain political candidates limited by how much they can try to transform their public images? If so, please provide an example.

3.  Is the business of image management in politics ethical? Why, or why not?

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