Going Local: Presidential Leadership in the Post-Broadcast Age

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Overview

Going public to gain support, especially through reliance on national addresses and the national news media, has been a central tactic for modern presidential public leadership. In Going Local: Presidential Leadership in the Post-Broadcast Age, Jeffrey E. Cohen argues that presidents have adapted their going-public activities to reflect the current realities of polarized parties and fragmented media. Going public now entails presidential targeting of their party base, interest groups, and localities. Cohen focuses on localities and offers a theory of presidential news management that is tested using several new data sets, including the first large-scale content analysis of local newspaper coverage of the president. The analysis finds that presidents can affect their local news coverage, which, in turn, affects public opinion toward the president. Although the post-broadcast age presents hurdles to presidential leadership, Going Local demonstrates the effectiveness of targeted presidential appeals and provides us with a refined understanding of the nature of presidential leadership.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A timely analysis of how presidents have changed their leadership styles in response to developments in the media. This book will engage scholars and undergraduates alike."
- Brandice Canes-Wrone, Princeton University

"In recent years Jeffrey Cohen has single-handedly kept political science research up to date with presidents' continuous strategic adaptations to rapidly changing mass communications technology. In Going Local Cohen demonstrates how presidents have responded to an increasingly fragmented media environment by targeting their public appeals to specific constituencies."
- Samuel Kernell, University of California, San Diego

"With his usual skill, Jeffrey Cohen tackles an important topic in a detailed study that is sure to be read by pundits and scholars alike. As the political parties continue to fragment, and as presidents receive far greater scrutiny from the press, much of it negative, the public seems to be paying less attention. Presidents have responded by taking their message to more select audiences. Cohen's book is a masterful treatise on how this new political dynamic is reshaping the presidency. It is must-reading."
- Richard Waterman, University of Kentucky

"Going Local makes an important contribution to the literature on how presidents seek to build support in the public. Cohen's argument updates Kernell's 'going public' hypothesis for a world in which the mass media and the political parties have changed. This is an important aspect of presidential leadership, and Cohen's research will be of interest to scholars in political science and communications, as well as to general readers."
- M. Stephen Weatherford, University of California, Santa Barbara

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521193719
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey E. Cohen is Professor of Political Science at Fordham University and Visiting Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He is the author of 11 books and monographs - including The Presidency in an Era of 24-Hour News - and more than 50 journal articles. Professor Cohen's areas of interest focus on American politics, especially the presidency and public policy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Presidential leadership styles; 2. Increasing presidential attention to narrow groups; 3. Presidents and the local news media; 4. A theory of presidential news management and local news coverage; 5. The quantity of local newspaper coverage of the president; 6. Trends in local newspaper coverage of the presidency, 1990-2007; 7. On the tone of local presidential news; 8. Local presidential news coverage and public attitudes toward the president; 9. Conclusions: presidential leadership in the post-broadcast age.

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