Congress, the Press, and the Public

Transaction Publishers

In recent years Congress has been in a state of siege. The healthy skepticism that had long characterized public attitudes toward Congress degenerated into corrosive cynicism. The reservoir of support among political elites appears to have collapsed as well. Part of the explanation for this growing public hostility lies in objective conditions: stagnant wages, huge budget deficits, sustained divided government, scandals and deadlock on Capitol Hill. But another important factor may be how Congress is presented to and interpreted for the broader public.

This book explores the connections between Congress, the press, and the public. Public opinion scholars analyze historical data to discern trends in and sources of public hostility toward Congress. Media specialists examine patterns of congressional coverage in national print and television news and attitudes toward Congress among producers, editors, and reporters. And students of Congress explore the tools and techniques leaders and rank-and-file members use in presenting themselves and their institution to the public. The book concludes by assessing the role the media plays in presenting Congress to the public and what the media and Congress might do to improve public understanding.

The contributors are Herb Asher and Michael Barr, Ohio State University; Karlyn Bowman and Kimberly Coursen, the American Enterprise Institute; Ronald D. Elving, Congressional Quarterly; Stephen Hess, Brookings; Karl Kurtz, National Conference of State Legislatures; Everett Carll Ladd, The Roper Center; Robert Lichter, Center for Media and Public Policy; and Mark J. Rozell, Mary Washington College.

This book is the third in a series by the Renewing Congress Project, a joint effort of the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution. The previous volumes are Renewing Congress: A First Report and Renewing Congress: A Second Report.

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About the author

Thomas E.Mann is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the W. Averell Harriman Chair. He is a frequent media commentator on American politics. Norman J.Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He also serves as an election analyst for CBS News and writes a weekly column,"Congress Inside Out," for Roll Call.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 1994
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Pages
212
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ISBN
9780815754619
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
Political Science / American Government / Legislative Branch
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In 2002 Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the first major revision of federal campaign finance law in a generation. In March 2001, after a fiercely contested and highly divisive seven-year partisan legislative battle, the Senate passed S. 27, known as the McCain-Feingold legislation. The House responded by passing H.R. 2356, companion legislation known as Shays-Meehan, in February 2002. The Senate then approved the House-passed version, and President George W. Bush signed BCRA into law on March 27, 2002, stating that the bill had "flaws" but overall "improves the current system of financing for federal campaigns." The Reform Act was taken to court within hours of the President's signature. Dozens of interest groups and lawmakers who had opposed passage of the Act in Congress lodged complaints that challenged the constitutionality of virtually every aspect of the new law. Following review by a special three-judge panel, the case is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. This litigation constitutes the most important campaign finance case since the Supreme Court issued its decision in Buckley v. Valeo more than twenty-five years ago. The testimony, submitted by some of the country's most knowledgeable political scientists and most experienced politicians, constitutes an invaluable body of knowledge about the complexities of campaign finance and the role of money in our political system. Unfortunately, only the lawyers, political scientists, and practitioners actually involved in the litigation have seen most of this writing—until now. Ins ide the Campaign Finance Battle makes key testimony in this historic case available to a general readership, in the process shedding new light on campaign finance practices central to the congressional debate on the reform act and to the landmark litigation challenging its constitutionality.
In 2002 Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the first major revision of federal campaign finance law in a generation. In March 2001, after a fiercely contested and highly divisive seven-year partisan legislative battle, the Senate passed S. 27, known as the McCain-Feingold legislation. The House responded by passing H.R. 2356, companion legislation known as Shays-Meehan, in February 2002. The Senate then approved the House-passed version, and President George W. Bush signed BCRA into law on March 27, 2002, stating that the bill had "flaws" but overall "improves the current system of financing for federal campaigns." The Reform Act was taken to court within hours of the President's signature. Dozens of interest groups and lawmakers who had opposed passage of the Act in Congress lodged complaints that challenged the constitutionality of virtually every aspect of the new law. Following review by a special three-judge panel, the case is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. This litigation constitutes the most important campaign finance case since the Supreme Court issued its decision in Buckley v. Valeo more than twenty-five years ago. The testimony, submitted by some of the country's most knowledgeable political scientists and most experienced politicians, constitutes an invaluable body of knowledge about the complexities of campaign finance and the role of money in our political system. Unfortunately, only the lawyers, political scientists, and practitioners actually involved in the litigation have seen most of this writing—until now. Ins ide the Campaign Finance Battle makes key testimony in this historic case available to a general readership, in the process shedding new light on campaign finance practices central to the congressional debate on the reform act and to the landmark litigation challenging its constitutionality.
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