Remote and Controlled examines the issue of widespread cynicism in an era of abundant information, asking whether it is possible to consume a steady diet of mainstream media and still understand and respect the political process. Starting with central examples of television's political coverage and the media's focus on the president, the author explores a variety of media—from newspapers and radio to MTV and computer networks—and political events and institutions. Against a historical backdrop of political, technological, and institutional change, the text raises critical questions for a society plugged into Rush, Oprah, and USA Today: How do the media both magnify and undermine the president? Can televised town meetings replace the real thing? How do politicians seek to control the flow of information, and what do the media do about it? Does the information explosion provide greater diversity or simply greater convenience? The second edition of this acclaimed text has been revised and updated to examine media coverage of recent events such as the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In the process, the author sheds light on the ultimate dilemma of whether an informed public will participate in a system in which campaigns are portrayed as if they were war, policymaking is depicted as if it were a campaign, and none of the participants—reporters included—appear particularly noble or worthy.
Preface and Acknowledgments -- Introduction: Under the President’s Clothes -- Two Hundred Years of Politics and Reporting -- A War of Words: Coverage of Politics and the Politics of Coverage -- Presidential Governance and Other Fantasies -- What About Us? -- Discussion Questions