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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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.