Media as Powerbrokers

Jeff Gale, Author, Jeffrey Gale, Author
Jeff Gale, Author, Jeffrey Gale, Author Bold Hawk Press $9.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-9620243-0-6
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
This compendium of interviews, speeches and articles fails to prove its premise that ``the national news media . . . have become the key power brokers in U.S. presidential elections.'' However, for those who are unfamiliar with the Citizens party, formed by ``a coalition of left-wing groups'' in 1979 by Barry Commoner, Julian Bond, Bella Abzug, Studs Terkel and others, the book is an enlightening bit of political history. During the 1980 campaign, when the prominent environmentalist Commoner ran as the Citizens party candidate (the title of the book comes from a campaign commercial), the author served as ``voluntary ombudsman'' for the national news media on Commoner's candidacy and was national press secretary for Sonia Johnson when she ran for president in 1984. In building his case for the media as power brokers, the author complains that the major wire services had a journalist cover each of 13 football games on Sunday November 4, 1984, yet when 13 candidates were running for president on November 6, only two were assigned journalists. The establishment national news media, he infers, made a corporate decision to cover only the two major political parties and to exclude the anti-corporate Citizens party. Not so, counters Tom Wicker of the New York Times, who is interviewed by Gale. An issues-only candidate is boring to voters, explains Wicker. ``They want to be interested . . . . The press doesn't make them that way; they make the press that way.'' (July)
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