Sagan and Reagan

Over at the ScienceBlog Framing Science, Matthew Nisbet wrote about two men that he considers to be the top communicators of the 1980s, President Reagan and Dr. Sagan:

In the years before cable television fragmented Americans into ever smaller viewership groups, both men took advantage of the broadcast television networks to communicate directly to a mass audience. Reagan would make speeches during prime time from the Oval Office such as his 1983 call to scientists to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative. “I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete,” declared Reagan.

And before The Daily Show or The Colbert Report turned late night comedy into platforms for scientists such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sagan would appear as a regular on Johnny Carson reaching tens of millions of viewers. The astronomer was so familiar to American audiences that Carson would even affectionately impersonate Sagan in skits.

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