30-second Politics: Political Advertising in the Eighties

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Praeger, 1989 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 237 pages
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In this age of the media campaign where television is Americans' preferred source of candidate information, Montague Kern offers insightful scrutiny of political advertisements from 1972 to the present. This book closely examines a sample of ads and news coverage in the last stage of the 1984 presidential election, and in senatorial, gubernatorial, and house elections in four geographically diverse markets. Kern interviews campaign consultants as well as campaign managers and outlines the significant changes in political advertising over the past two decades. She finds, on the basis of an ad sample, that most competitive senatorial and gubernatorial races in 1986 as well as the presidential race of 1988 used negative advertising. In an era in which media consultants are increasingly assuming primary responsibility for press relations, the study demonstrates that ads can overwhelm news coverage and serve many purposes in addition to providing voters with campaign information. The informed general reader seeking a better understanding of the political advertisement phenomenon, journalists who cover political campaigns, as well as scholars in communications and political science, will find 30-Second Politics invaluable reading.

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30-second politics: political advertising in the eighties

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Evidently the old political saw, "he who slings dirt only loses ground,'' has become passe, says Kern in this monumental work examining how media affects the American electoral process. Kern (mass ... Read full review


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About the author (1989)

MONTAGUE KERN is Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Media at Rutgers University.

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