The Electronic Election: Perspectives on the 1996 Campaign Communication

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Dianne G. Bystrom | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
4
Presidential Campaigning on the Information Superhighway: An Exploration of Content and Form

John C. Tedesco University of Oklahoma

Jerry L. Miller Ohio University

Julia A. Spiker University of Oklahoma

The introduction of computer-mediated political communication (CMPC) is one of the most noteworthy phenomena of practical and scholarly speculation since the broadcast of the Nixon-Kennedy debates. Similar to the effects of the diffusion of the television, the full effects of CMPC on U.S. politics and political campaigning may not be observed for decades to come. Yet, with the emergence of the White House e-mail system and the 1996 election campaigning via the World Wide Web (WWW), CMPC may be destined to become as important to candidate viability and political prosperity as television and newspaper journalism and advertising.

Because of the novelty of CMPC and its potential as a channel for political information, it is important to explore the dynamics surrounding its contemporary use and those that may govern its future use as a channel of mass communication. Furthermore, by embracing this medium in its infancy, scholars may identify important characteristics in the messages produced by political candidates in their computer-mediated communication (CMC), thus contributing to the theoretical and pragmatic evolution of this phenomenon.

With the development of an e-mail system, the Clinton-Gore administration holds the title of being the first to go online and promote what has

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