This brief and accessible book bridges the gap by discussing media in the context of U.S elections. David A. Jones divides the book into two parts, with the first analyzing the wide array of media outlets citizens use to inform themselves during elections. Jones covers traditional, mainstream news media and opinion/entertainment-based media, as well as new media outlets such as talk shows, blogs, and late-night comedy programs. The second half of the book assesses how campaigns and candidates have adapted to the changing media environment. These chapters focus on earned media strategies, paid media strategies, and social media strategies.
Written in a concise and accessible style while including recent scholarly research, the book will appeal to students with its combination of academic rigor and readability. U.S. Media and Elections in Flux will be a useful supplementary textbook for courses on campaigns and elections, media and politics, and American introductory politics.
Beginning in the late 1940s, activists working in media emerged as leaders of the American conservative movement. They not only started an array of enterprises—publishing houses, radio programs, magazines, book clubs, television shows—they also built the movement. They coordinated rallies, founded organizations, ran political campaigns, and mobilized voters. While these media activists disagreed profoundly on tactics and strategy, they shared a belief that political change stemmed not just from ideas but from spreading those ideas through openly ideological communications channels.
In Messengers of the Right, Nicole Hemmer explains how conservative media became the institutional and organizational nexus of the conservative movement, transforming audiences into activists and activists into a reliable voting base. Hemmer also explores how the idea of liberal media bias emerged, why conservatives have been more successful at media activism than liberals, and how the right remade both the Republican Party and American news media. Messengers of the Right follows broadcaster Clarence Manion, book publisher Henry Regnery, and magazine publisher William Rusher as they evolved from frustrated outsiders in search of a platform into leaders of one of the most significant and successful political movements of the twentieth century.
News organizations cover the world mainly through “beats,” which tend to route reporters exclusively through governmental agencies and corporate bureaucracies in their search for news. Crime, for instance, is covered through the police and court bureaucracies; local politics through the meetings of the city council, county commissioners, and other official agencies. Reporters under daily deadlines come to depend upon these organizations for the predictable, steady flow of raw news material they provide.
It is part of the function of such bureaucracies to transform complex happenings into procedurally defined “cases.” Thus the information they produce for newsworkers represents their own bureaucratic reality. Occurrences which are not part of some bureaucratic phase are simply ignored. Journalists participate in this system by publicizing bureaucratic reality as hard fact, while accounts from other sources are treated as unconfirmed reports which cannot be published without time-consuming investigation.
Were journalists to employ different methods of news gathering, Fishman concludes, a different reality would emerge in the news—one that might challenge the legitimacy of prevailing political structures. But, under the traditional system, news reports will continue to support the interests of the status quo independently of the attitudes and intentions of reporters, editors, and news sources.