The new kind of synthetic novelty which has flooded our experience I will call “pseudo-events.” The common prefix “pseudo” comes from the Greek word meaning false, or intended to deceive….
A perfect example of how pseudo-events can dominate is the recent popularity of the quiz show format. Its original appeal came less from the fact that such shows were tests of intelligence than from the fact that the situations were elaborately contrived….
The application of the quiz show format to the so-called “Great Debates” between Presidential candidates … is only another example … remarkably successful in reducing great national issues to trivial dimensions….
The television-watching voter was left to judge, not on issues explored by thoughtful men, but on the relative capacity of … candidates to perform under television stress.
Pseudo-events thus lead to emphasis on pseudo-qualifications.
From: The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America