White House to Your House: Media and Politics in 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 an account of contemporary media coverage of national politics during a time when the top two books on the best-seller list were by by Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Included are 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. The story begins with the 1992 election and concludes with the stunning Repubican victory of November 1994. As candidates communicate more and more on new media outlets - Lary King, MTV, talk shows, drive-time radio, the Internet - campaigns have less and less to do with substantive policy matters. Through interviews, on-scene reporting, and content analyses of media coverage, the authors expose a democratic system in the middle of a massive short-circuiting.