Video: Tv's Week: Of Gab and Glasnost

The tube exerts growing impact on political events

Paul Simon's earlobes are too big, and his droning voice doesn't match the sprightly bow tie. Bruce Babbitt has trouble working up a convincing smile. Pete du Pont comes across as an eager accountant, and Al Gore could fit comfortably into the cast of Dynasty. All of them, however, could take a few lessons in TV communication skills from the Soviet Union's new media star, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Snap judgments emerged as quickly as the images last week, when TV took over the national stage for an extraordinary display of video diplomacy and politicking. On Monday the American public got its first...