When Politicians Attack: Party Cohesion in the Media

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 19, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 242 pages
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Fostering a positive brand name is the chief benefit parties provide for their members. They do this both by coordinating their activities in the legislative process and by communicating with voters. Whereas political scientists have generally focused on the former, dismissing partisan communication as cheap talk, this book argues that a party's ability to coordinate its communication has important implications for the study of politics. The macro-level institutional setting of a party's communication heavily influences that party's prospects for cohesive communication. Paradoxically, unified government presents the greatest challenge to unified communication within the president's party. As this book argues, the challenge stems primarily from two sources: the constitutional separation of powers and the intervening role of the news media. In this setting, internal disputes with the president or within the congressional majority are more likely to arise; these disputes are disproportionately likely to be featured by the news media, and stories of intra-party strife become the most credible and damaging type of partisan story.

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Singing from the Same Hymnbook
1 McParty
2 Man Bites President
3 Breaking the Eleventh Commandment
4 Life in the Shadows
5 When Politicians Attack
6 With Enemies Like These
Uncircling the Firing Squad

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About the author (2010)

Tim Groeling is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at UCLA. With Matthew A. Baum, he is the co-author of War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Politics, International Organization, Political Communication, Political Behavior, and Presidential Studies Quarterly, among other publications.