Out of Order

An Incisive and Boldly Original Critique of the News Media's Domination of America's Political Process

By Thomas Patterson
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780679755104, 336pp.)

Publication Date: August 1994

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Description

Why are our politicians almost universally perceived as liars? What made candidate Bill Clinton's draft record more newsworthy than his policy statements? How did George Bush's masculinity, Ronald Reagan's theatrics with a microphone, and Walter Mondale's appropriation of a Wendy's hamburger ad make or break their presidential campaigns?

Ever since Watergate, says Thomas E. Patterson, the road to the presidency has led through the newsrooms, which in turn impose their own values on American politics. The results are campaigns that resemble inquisitions or contests in which the candidates' game plans are considered more important than their goals. Lucid and aphoristic, historically informed and as timely as a satellite feed, Out of Order mounts a devastating inquest into the press's hijacking of the campaign process -- and shows what citizens and legislators can do to win it back.




About the Author
Thomas E. Patterson is Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was previously distinguished professor of political science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. Raised in a small Minnesota town near the Iowa and South Dakota borders, he was educated at South Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, where he received his Ph.D. in 1971. Currently running the "Vanishing Voter" study at the Kennedy School of Government, which has been widely used in the media and on college campuses, Tom is also the author of six books and dozens of articles, which focus primarily on the media and elections. His book, 'Out of Order'(1994), received national attention when President Clinton said every politician and journalist should be required to read it. An earlier book, 'The Mass Media Election'(1980), received a 'Choice' award as Outstanding Academic Book, 1980-81. Another of Patterson's books, 'The Unseeing Eye'(1976), was recently selected by the American Association for Public Opinion Research as one of the fifty most influential books of the past half century in the field of public opinion. His current research includes a study of White House communication and a study of the news media's role in Western democracies. His work has been funded by major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Markle Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
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