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The Beat Goes On

President Clinton's First Year with the Media

By Tom Rosenstiel
beatgoeson

American’s love forgetting. In the culture of disposable diapers and “instant classics,” the past is something to be let go, and “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” in politics, Bill Clinton, the first president born after World War II, talks about “reinventing government” and “making a new beginning” when he cuts the bureaucracy or introduces his annual budget.

The 1992 campaign was a point of convergence. We saw the end of one administration and the beginning of another. We saw the rise of new forms of communication and challenges, in the form of Ross Perot, to the old methods of the parties, the system of presidential primaries, and the Old Media that had evolved around them. The campaign signaled a breakthrough in the use of some forms of technology and in the ability of the public to shape the dialogue of the campaign. There was certainly change. But where was this change leading us?

In the book, The Beat Goes On, Tom Rosenstiel looks more closely between the relationship of the media and our political leaders and how the television has changed the form of political campaigns. Rosenstiel also provides a well documented and detailed analysis of how the Clinton administration has attempted to use the media to communicate its message and how the media have covered or communicated images of Clinton to the public. While exploring this insightful case study, Rosenstiel uncovers the transformation of the “Old Media” and their political leaders and how the “New Media” has impacted the 1992 election, as well as a forecast and thought on their role in the 1996 presidential campaign.

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