In Columns to Characters, Stephanie A. Martin and top scholars and journalists offer a fresh perspective on how the evolution of technology affects the way presidents interact with the public. From Bill Clinton’s saxophone playing on the Arsenio Hall Show to Barack Obama’s skillful use of YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit as the first “social media president,” political communication appears to reflect the increasing fragmentation of the American public.
The accessible essays here explore these implications in a variety of real-world circumstances: the “narcotizing” numbness of information overload and voter apathy; the concerns over privacy, security, and civil liberties; new methods of running political campaigns and mobilizing support for programs; and a future “post-rhetorical presidency” in which the press is all but irrelevant. Each section of the book concludes with a “reality check,” a short reflection by a working journalist (or, in one case, a former White House insider) on the presidential beat.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press