Re-examines the emergence of the twentieth century media President, whose authority to govern depends largely on his ability to generate public support by appealing to the citizenry through the news media.
This examination of the origins of the "media presidency" provides a useful and balanced explanation of how the presidency--with the help of "new media"--grabbed center stage in the American political drama. Focusing on the formative years 1897-1933, Ponder (journalism, Univ. of Oregon) demonstrates how presidents, through trial and error, developed strategies for attracting media attention (and with it, power) away from Congress. By attracting the focus of the media, presidents were able to shift the balance of power in favor of the presidency. Because of "the president's demonstrated ability to upstage Congress," the new media were used to place the president at center stage both politically and symbolically. Thorough and readable, this work is indispensable for those wishing to understand how the symbiotic (if often strained) relationship between the media and the presidency has developed over time.--Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles