White House to Your House
Media and Politics in Virtual America
202 pp., 5 x 8 in,
- Published: February 24, 1997
- Publisher: The MIT Press
- Published: October 16, 1995
- Publisher: The MIT Press
"In the pages that follow, we trace the emergence of a place that looks like a real democracy, and a real country, but is in fact a construct, like reality but not real. It is Virtual America." The new technologies of the 1990s, Ed Diamond and Robert Silverman argue, have helped create a blowhard culture, a talk-show politics driven by instant news analysis, over-reliance on public-opinion polls and focus groups, the power of Know-Nothing call-in shows, and the unchecked gossip of online computer networks. White House to Your House is a fast-paced account of contemporary media coverage of national politics during a time when the top two books on the best-seller list were by Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Included are lively analyses of what's behind the image makers' takeover of the old Washington policy-making machinery, how Bill Clinton prevailed in 1992 only to lose both his good press and his job approval ratings less than two years later, what the rise of right-wing populism from Ross Perot to Newt Gingrich signifies, how the press struggled to identify Hilary Rodham Clinton, why health care reform was defeated on the front pages of America's newspapers without coming to a vote in the Congress, who makes up the audiences for talk radio and why they're angry, and the effects of proliferating television channels on political coverage. A new epilogue carries the narrative through the 1996 presidential campaign, and the development of on-line Web sites by the candidates, special-interest groups, and news media. The epilogue also assesses the future of both Internet politics and digital journalism.
This book is a well-written and readable account of politics in the new media age. It should be a widely read book.
Darrell M. West, Professor of Political Science, Brown University
This is a revealing analysis of how the practice of politics and government has changed in this era of instant and constant television news, radio talk shows and alternative communications... Whether criticizing or praising the media, their darts are well aimed and worth considering.
Hal Bruno, Political Director, ABC News
The book concentrates on a significant question of democracy: how do presidents reach out to the citizens? It focuses on television, which is now news. Well researched, full of interesting facts, this is a useful book to help 'democracy in action.'
James David Barber, James B. Duke Professor, Department of Political Science, Duke University
White House to Your House is a very readable analysis of new media formats' contributions to American politics. Focusing on the Clinton/Gingrich era, Diamond and Silverman track politicians' searches for the winning campaign message from Thomas Paine's 1776 pamphlets to the use of 1990s pop media, tv talk shows, radio call-in programs and the internet. The authors provide many examples to warn readers of the increasingly blurred boundaries between news and entertainment in the coming age of computer democracy.
Ann Crigler, Department of Political Science, University of Southern California