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The Press and the Ford Presidency

Overview

Journalists offer a daily dose of commentary sizing up the president's successes and failures, profoundly influencing the public's perceptions of presidential performance. This study shows how leading journalists developed their perceptions of Gerald Ford, the criteria they employed in evaluating his presidency, and the nature and impact of their assessments of his leadership. In The Press and the Ford Presidency, political scientist Mark J. Rozell uses a qualitative content analysis to investigate the national ...
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Overview

Journalists offer a daily dose of commentary sizing up the president's successes and failures, profoundly influencing the public's perceptions of presidential performance. This study shows how leading journalists developed their perceptions of Gerald Ford, the criteria they employed in evaluating his presidency, and the nature and impact of their assessments of his leadership. In The Press and the Ford Presidency, political scientist Mark J. Rozell uses a qualitative content analysis to investigate the national press coverage of the Ford administration. He explores the complicated relationship between what presidents say and do and how their words and deeds are portrayed in the elite press, demonstrating not only how press valuations vary over time, but also how certain impressions of a president take hold and resist change, even in light of conflicting evidence. Rozell shows that a president and presidential image-crafters cannot script their own press coverage and expect journalists dutifully to follow the White House plan. Journalists have identifiable expectations of presidential leadership and performance. Indeed, Gerald Ford consistently fell short of these expectations, leading the media and, consequently, the public to resort to humiliating caricature when describing the president and his programs. The Press and the Ford Presidency will be of special value to scholars of the presidency, mass media and politics, political communications, and political leadership. In addition, since the author's research included interviews with numerous members of Ford's White House staff, the book will appeal to scholars interested in oral history and to historians of the Watergate era and the Ford years.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472103508
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/1992
  • Pages: 264

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Building the Image: The Vice Presidency 15
3 Transition to Power: A Brief Honeymoon 31
4 The Nixon Pardon and the Fall from Grace 51
5 Attempting a Comeback (1975) 87
6 Campaigning for Election (1976) 129
7 Ford's Press Strategy: Retrospective Assessments by the Press Office Staff 161
8 Evaluating Presidents and "Managing" the Press 209
Bibliography 235
Name Index 239
Subject Index 245
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