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Gaslight: Media History in May - The LAMP

Gaslight: Media History in May

By May 3, 2010 News No Comments

Nixon being interviewed

May 4, 1977: The first installment of David Frost’s interviews with former president Richard Nixon is broadcast. Since his resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Nixon had never before apologized to the American people, nor had he admitted any wrongdoing. Because he resigned, and then was pardoned by President Gerald Ford, there was no formal impeachment trial, and many Americans lacked a sense of closure which was necessary to leave Watergate in the past and move forward. In 28 hours of interviews which were edited down to four 90-minute segments, Frost carefully maneuvered against Nixon’s canned responses and reluctance to discuss the details of Watergate. Ultimately, Frost’s strategy paid off and Americans were delivered a televised apology: “I let down my friends. I let down the country. I let down the system of government, and the dreams of all those young people that ought to get into government, but now think it too corrupt.”

A Coke for Santa Claus

May 8, 1886: The first Coca-Cola was served in Atlanta, GA in Jacob’s Pharmacy. The drink was created by Dr. John Stith Pemberton, made from carbonated water and a syrup he invented. The famous logo was designed by his bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, who also suggested the name. The logo has remained in use by the company ever since, and is one of the most recognized logos worldwide. Coca-Cola advertising campaigns have played a major role in popular culture and history; the company credits its 1931 Christmas advertising campaign asĀ  spearheading the modern-day image of Santa Claus as a round, jolly bearded man in a red suit, and the brand figures prominently in movie classics such as The Gods Must Be Crazy, Dr. Strangelove, One, Two, Three and hundreds of others. Advertising campaigns and product placements such as these have given rise to thousands of individual collectors of Coca-Cola memorabilia internationally, further cementing the the company”s place in history as managing one of the most enduring brands ever.

WWI Recruiting Poster using Neuve Chapelle

May 14, 1915: Crisis struck the British home front during World War I when the London Times reported that casualties suffered in Britain’s first offensive in World War I were the direct result of inadequate ammunition in the field. What followed became known as the Shells Crisis, and a nightmare for the ruling Liberal party and Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith. After an extremely poor performance at The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, Field Marshal Sir John French told Times war correspondent Colonel Charles Repington that a lack of munitions was the reason for having lost over 11,000 men and gaining only 2 kilometers of ground in the battle against Germany. (However, it has also been suggested that French blamed the munitions shortage to cover up his own failings in leadership.) This touched off a whirlwind of fury which resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Munitions with Lloyd George at the helm, and Asquith was forced to accept a coalition government with George. Whether the Shells Crisis story was carefully maneuvered hype or genuine reporting, the story galvanized the public, brought down the government, and Britain went full force into World War One.