“Journeys With George” is a 2002 political documentary directed by Alexandra Pelosi. The film chronicles the 2000 Presidential campaign of George W. Bush from the start of the primary season to the end of the general election and the relationship between the press and presidential candidates. Pelosi, who worked as a producer for NBC, decided to bring along her camcorder to document the spontaneous moments of the Bush campaign. Some of the notable sequences in “Journeys With George” include Bush’s efforts to persuade Pelosi to vote for him, the dynamic between himself and the press, and his behind-the-scenes demeanor. Additionally, “Journeys With George” highlights an entirely different perspective of the actions of political candidates that goes against the conventional media narratives of political campaigning. Throughout “Journeys With George,” several different examples of political communication strategies are shown, and they help to explain the rationale behind the actions of the Bush campaign.
An example of a political communication concept shown in “Journeys With George” is the importance of interpersonal communication in political campaigns. In political communication, interpersonal communication is a valuable tool because it allows candidates to frame their message in different ways to appeal to different voters. Additionally, efficient use of interpersonal communication techniques serves as a way to increase the connection between political candidates and the voters that they are attempting to gain support from. Throughout the film, George W. Bush utilized several different forms of interpersonal communication. For example, Bush engaged in many campaign-sponsored events on the campaign trails including political rallies during the lead up to both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and meetings with prospective voters on the campaign trail. By engaging in such events, Bush was seeking to gain credibility as a candidate and earn a higher level of name recognition. Another example of interpersonal communication used by Bush was the framing of his message when appearing at different venues. For example, Bush pledged to return a sense of morality and dignity to the office of the Presidency during a campaign appearance at Bob Jones University in South Carolina.
Another example of a political communication strategy used by George W. Bush was his use of the concept of the apologia when dealing with certain campaign issues. In political communication, an apologia is a political speech made by a candidate when they feel it is necessary to apologize for a particular behavior or public statement. During the last weeks of the 2000 campaign, allegations emerged about Bush’s criminal record, in particular, his 1976 DUI arrest. As a result of such claims, members of the press began to question Bush’s statements and accused him of distorting his past. In response to such charges, Bush announced that event did occur and was forthcoming with the press, stating that he made mistakes in the past. Through his use of an apologia, Bush attempted to remove the topic from public discussion and frame his actions in a way that minimized the damages to his character and reputation as a political leader.
In conclusion, “Journeys With George” presents an unbiased and behind-the-scenes view of George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign. Over the course of the campaign, Bush utilized several different political communication strategies including the use of interpersonal communication methods and the issuing of an apologia to address concerns over his 1976 DUI address. The use of such political communication methods contributed to Bush’s successful 2000 campaign and served as a model for future candidates to follow.