Creating Consent of the Governed: A Member of Congress and the Local Media

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What would happen if local media provided information that elected representatives did not control that focused on political issues? This is the question that Stephanie Greco Larson asks—and answers—in Creating Consent of the Governed. Larson explores the role of the news media in contemporary American politics, specifically, the effect of the media on voters’ evaluations of elected representatives. Larson also asks whether the press or the public is responsible for society’s ...

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Overview

What would happen if local media provided information that elected representatives did not control that focused on political issues? This is the question that Stephanie Greco Larson asks—and answers—in Creating Consent of the Governed. Larson explores the role of the news media in contemporary American politics, specifically, the effect of the media on voters’ evaluations of elected representatives. Larson also asks whether the press or the public is responsible for society’s present inattention to issues.

Larson’s book is a case study of the way constituents reacted to local media coverage of Democrat Bill Nelson, representative of a congressional district in east-central Florida. The book examines the relationship between Nelson, his local press, and his constituents in order to understand the media’s role in representation. Having conducted what she terms a social experiment, Larson presents the results of a panel survey of voters that measured what voters knew about Nelson and how supportive they were of him. She highlights a number of factors of growing importance in the field of political communication. For instance, How do the media affect audience perceptions? What information will change voters’ attitudes? How does personality affect the popularity of a representative? Does good or bad news have a greater effect on voters?

Larson concludes that the media can educate voters, but because voters often do not use the information to evaluate their legislators, the media do not facilitate issue representation.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
To answer the question of whether a public provided with reliable news about their representatives' voting practices would use this information to make their political evaluations, Larson examined a single congressman--Bill Nelson, a Democrat representing a district in eastern central Florida, the coverage afforded him by his local press, his efforts to get coverage, and the effect new information provided to constituents had on their evaluations of him. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809317875
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Greco Larson is an assistant professor of political science at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has written numerous articles on media and the government.

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