Mediated Politics in Two Cultures: Presidential Campaigning in the United States and France

Mediated Politics in Two Cultures: Presidential Campaigning in the United States and France

Mediated Politics in Two Cultures: Presidential Campaigning in the United States and France

Mediated Politics in Two Cultures: Presidential Campaigning in the United States and France

Synopsis

This first comparative study of the political communication process in France and the United States analyzes the construction of mediated political reality in each country's 1988 presidential campaign, drawing on the expertise of scholars from both nations. Contributors discuss television news and newsmagazine coverage of the campaigns, political debates, television commercials and broadcasts, and political posters. Also assessed are the interactions between party/candidate presentations of political reality and voter interpretations of that reality.

Excerpt

Lynda Lee Kaid, Jacques Gerstlé, andKeith R. Sanders

In 1988, for the first time in history, the United States and France conducted presidential elections with universal suffrage in the same calendar year. This unique occurrence provided scholars with an opportunity to analyze these two Western democracies at an important point in their evolutions. the project that formed the basis of this book was designed to capitalize on this rare opportunity by analyzing the campaign communication processes in both countries during the 1988 elections.

Though France and the United States share a commitment to democracy and many other political and philosophical ideals, their cultures are different. French culture is more homogenous, having been developed by a relatively small population over a long period of history. By contrast, American culture is quite pluralistic and has a brief history. As a result, and partly because of their differing media and regulatory systems, the two nations differ in the way cultural values, issues, political images, events, symbols, and institutions are presented to the electorate. However, striking similarities surface as well, with the French electorate finding itself confronted more and more with "Americanized" media techniques and heightened emphasis on candidate image, instead of traditional party loyalties.

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