Deception, Distraction, and Democracy
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
In recent years, Americans have become thoroughly disenchanted with our political campaigns, especially with campaign advertising and speeches that bombard us with sensational images while avoiding significant issues. In Dirty Politics, campaign analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson provides an eye-opening look at these political ads and speeches, showing us how to read, listen to, and watch political campaigns--in short, how to decide where the truth lies. She provides an analysis of advertising techniques (such as the use of soft focus, slow motion, and patriotic music, or quick cuts, black and white, and ominous music) used to portray candidates in either a positive or negative light. She also shows how ads often mimic news to add authenticity, and points out how consultants create inflammatory ads (such as the notorious Willie Horton campaign) hoping that a major network will run them as news, thus providing millions of dollars of free air time. A colorful, compact history of negative campaigning from the days of Eisenhower to the recent Duke-Edwards battle in Louisiana, Dirty Politics is a fascinating look at underhanded political advertising that all voters should read before they vote again.