In their tenth co-authored study, Brennan and Hahn propose both a new method of biographical study for students of political communication and a new way of evaluating candidates for presidential office. The authors argue that given the biases inherent in the print and broadcast media, the only way to obtain accurate assessment about presidential candidates is to analyze information from the primary sourcesthe candidates themselves. They show how careful listening and rigorous analysis can enable the reader to extract reliable clues to presidential competence from the speeches, debates, press conferences, and advertising spots of the candidates. Challenging traditional rhetorical criticism in which biography is used to help evaluate speeches, Brennan and Hahn demonstrate that speeches can be effectively used to arrive at reliable evaluations of speakers.
In order to establish the need for a new approach, the authors begin with a critique of the major extant methods of political analysis (biography, psychobiography, political biography and rhetorical biography). They then respond to that need by focusing on methods of analyzing information directly from political speeches and other utterances, identifying five major arenas for evaluating candidates: personality orientation, leadership ideal, ideology, epistemology, and axiology. Each of the arenas is divided into theory and application sections, providing the reader with both the methods in practice and an understanding of why they work. The final chapter examines the relationship of the media to political analysis. A comprehensive bibliography completes the work.
About the Author
RUTH M. GONCHAR BRENNAN, currently Director of the Executive MEA Program at the University of New Haven, has taught communication and marketing at the college level for over 20 years and has written speeches for many corporate executives and politicians.
DAN F. HAHN is Professor of Communication at Queens College. A former Chairman of the Speech Communication Association Taskforce on Presidential Communication and a member of the Editorial Board of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, Dr. Hahn is a nationally recognized expert on presidential rhetoric.
Table of Contents
Series Foreword by Robert E. Denton, Jr
A History of Biography