Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion)

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9780226115009: Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion)

The ideal of a neutral, objective press has proven in recent years to be just that--an ideal. But while everyone talks about the political biases and influences of the news, no one has figured out whether and how the news media exert power. In Governing with the News, Timothy E. Cook goes far beyond the single claim that the press is not impartial to argue that the news media are in fact a political institution integral to the day-to-day operations of the three branches of our government.

The formation of the press as a political institution began in the early days of the republic when newspapers were sponsored by political parties; the relationship is now so central that press offices are found wherever one turns. Cook demonstrates not only how the media are structured as an institution that exercises collective power but also how the role of the media has become institutionalized within the political process, affecting policy and instigating, rather than merely reflecting, political actions. Cook's analysis is a powerful and fascinating guide to our age when newsmaking and governing are inseparable.

"This is a wonderful analysis of a highly important topic. Tim Cook is resoundingly right that we need to look at the media as political institutions and their operatives as political actors."--David R. Mayhew, author of Divided We Govern

"This meticulously researched and well reasoned work proposes to take seriously a thesis which flies in the face of both journalistic lore and political myth. Governing with the News is an innovative contribution to our understanding of media."--W. Lance Bennett, author of News: The Politics of Illusion

"This book should be read by journalists . . . by mass communication faculty teaching courses in media structure or effects and journalism faculty as a supplemental text to courses in media history and media management."--Benjamin J. Burns, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

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About the Author:

Timothy Cook is professor of mass communication and political science and holds the Kevin P. Reilly, Sr., Chair of Political Communication at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University. He is coauthor of the award-winning Crosstalk: Citizens, Candidates, and the Media in a Presidential Campaign, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

From Library Journal:

Cook (political science, Williams Coll.; Making Laws and Making News, Brookings, 1989) has written before on the media in U.S. congressional and presidential politics. His latest book offers an overall theory of the interconnectivity between the mass media and the American political process. Cook begins historically, summarizing how the nascent federal government used postal regulations to encourage an engaged, although not necessarily purely free, press. As journalism became more professionalized and less overtly partisan, it increasingly involved itself in news making?anticipating events that seem newsworthy, that translate now into "soundbites"?rather than news reporting. Cook believes that one consequence of media actors basing their reporting on high-level government sources is presentation of an authorized version of the news, reflecting what political actors need to have reported. This rather dry work is tightly argued, and though the media bashes the media for not being "objective," casual readers will find little evidence of that tension here. Recommended for academic libraries.?Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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