The 1992 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective

The 1992 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective

The 1992 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective

The 1992 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective

Synopsis

Political campaigns are highly complex and sophisticated communication events: communication of issues, images, social reality, and persons. They are essentially exercises in the creation, recreation, and transmission of "significant symbols" through human communication. As we attempt to make sense of our environment, "political bits" of communication inform our voting choices, world views, and legislative desires. This volume considers the 1992 presidential campaign from a communication perspective. Each chapter focuses on a specific area of political campaign communication: the communication functions and activities across the campaign phases, the nomination conventions, the debates, political advertising, the discussion and framing of issues, candidate images, the role and impact of network and local news, "electronic town hall" meetings, and C-Span.

Excerpt

Every four years a gong goes off and a new Presidential campaign surges into the national consciousness: new candidates, new issues, a new season of surprises. But underlying the syncopations of change is a steady, recurrent rhythm from election to election, a pulse of politics, that brings up the same basic themes in order, over and over again.

James David Barber

For years, those of us in the discipline of communication studies have argued that the essence of politics is simply "talk" or human interaction. the interaction may be formal or informal, verbal or nonverbal, public or private, but it is always persuasive—forcing us as individuals to interpret, to evaluate, and to act.

Political campaigns are highly complex and sophisticated communication events, involving the communication of issues, images, social reality, and personas. They are essentially exercises in the creation, recreation, and transmission of "significant symbols" through human communication. As we attempt to make sense of our environment, "political bits" of communication influence our voting choices, world views, and legislative desires.

The 1992 presidential campaign was one of the most exciting and unique campaigns in recent history. Some scholars even characterize the campaign as a watershed in American presidential politics. the election signaled the end of the Reagan era, a revitalization of voter interest and participation, a generational shift of national leadership, the strongest third-party challenge since 1912, and the creative use of television and new communication technologies. Candidates were innovative in reaching the voters. Television talk shows replaced the stump speech; popular tabloids and talk radio overshadowed network evening news as important sources of political information.

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