Appearance became an important factor in campaigning. In the first debate, Nixon looked pale, sickly and tired, while JFK looked young and confident. Those who were watching the debate on TV though JFK won the debate, because of the confidence he exuded on screen. However, the people who listened to the debate on radio considered Nixon to be the winner, because of the substantive answers he provided.
Television gave JFK an edge over public opinion and has influenced political strategy today.
For example, modern political campaigns are meticulous about how candidates look during debates, as candidates and their advisers know that debate analysis often focuses on appearance.
During a 1992 town hall debate, George H.W. Bush looked at his wrist watch in the middle of a question which made it seemed like Bush was bored and uninterested in hearing what real people had to say.
During the first presidential debate in 2000, Al Gore attempted to emphasize how exasperated he was with George W. Bush – microphones caught Gore loudly sighing in response to Bush’s answers and he was also caught rolling his eyes. This played into Republican arguments that Gore was arrogant and condescending.