Political Communication: Politics, Press, and Public in America

Political Communication: Politics, Press, and Public in America

Political Communication: Politics, Press, and Public in America

Political Communication: Politics, Press, and Public in America

Synopsis

In this political communication text, Richard M. Perloff examines the various ways in which messages are constructed and communicated from public officials and politicians through the mass media to the ultimate receivers-the people. With a focus on the history of political communication, he provides an overview of the most significant issues in the study of politics and the media.

In addition to synthesizing facts and theories, and highlighting the scholarly contributions made to the understanding of political communication effects, Political Communication addresses such factors as the rhetorical accomplishments of American presidents, the ongoing tangles between the press and the presidency, and the historical roots of politics as it is practiced and studied today. It also addresses major issues about the press and politics that continually resurface, such as question of press bias and the use and manipulation of media by politicians to accomplish national goals.

As a comprehensive and engaging introduction to contemporary political communication, this volume provides all readers with a historical perspective on American politics and press and offers a unique appreciation of the strengths and virtues of political communication in America.

Excerpt

Initially, one of the reasons I wanted to write a book on political communication was to showcase the knowledge we had in the field, to synthesize the facts and theories, and to trumpet the contributions that scholars had made to our knowledge of political communication effects. This remained one of my goals as I worked on the book, but in the process of writing, I found that my focus was broadening and I wanted to cover more than just the empirical body of literature. It became clear to me that an important component of the field was historical -- the luminary rhetorical accomplishments of some American presidents, the constant tangle between the press and presidency, the historical roots of politics as it is practiced today and as it is studied in universities. Hence, history became a focus of my attention. I felt it was important today, when so many students are locked into the present and have little knowledge of the way that the past influences and intrudes upon the present-day practice of political communication, to provide an overview of some of the major historical issues in the study of politics and the press. Thus, the book was designed both to introduce students to contemporary political communication and to provide an historical perspective on politics and the press in America.

At the same time, as I worked on the book, it became clear to me that political communication was not something alien to me -- not just the sum total of theories and methods and perspectives -- but an arena in which I had some practical and personal experiences. I called on these in the book, as I covered rhetoric (thinking back to the impassioned speeches of Senator Robert E Kennedy, for whom I did volunteer work in 1968) and in discussions of political journalism (harking back to my days as a devotee of newspapers, and particularly as a reporter for the student newspaper at the . . .

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