Calling Elections: The History of Horse-race Journalism

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University of Notre Dame Press, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 202 pages
Calling Elections: The History of Horse-Race Journalism is the story of the origins and evolution of the "horse-race" tradition of political journalism in the United States. Thomas B. Littlewood examines how the treatment of elections as sporting events has come to overshadow the reporting of the campaign as a forum for the discussion of ideas. He suggests reasons for the perception of presidential elections as spectator sport: the historical interconnections between gambling, politics, and the press; the infusion of sports language into political rhetoric; the government spoils system that gives individuals and businesses a financial stake in the status of the contest; the methodological development of "scientific" polling; the fiercely declared independence of many formerly partisan organizations; the perverse conviction of many journalists in the early 1900s that substantive politics was not interesting to news consumers and that partisan "speech" belonged in the paid advertising columns of the newspaper. Political scientists, journalists, sociologists, American Studies scholars, and all those interested in the past, and upcoming, presidential elections will find much to ponder in Calling Elections: The History of Horse-Race Journalism.

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User Review  - Big_Bang_Gorilla - LibraryThing

The imprecise gerund in the title allows the author to combine a focus on the reporting of election night returns with predictive polling through the years in America. The book is a trove of ... Read full review

Calling elections: the history of horse-race journalism

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This is an entertaining slice of American political history. Littlewood (journalism, emeritus, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), a former congressional aide to Bob Dole, examines the ways in which ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

Thomas B. Littlewood is a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A veteran newspaper reporter in Chicago, Springfield, and Washington, D.C., his five books include "Coals of Fire: The Alton Telegraph Libel Case, "as well as biographies of former Illinois governor Henry Horner and "Chicago Tribune" sports editor and promoter Arch Ward.

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