Politics on Demand

The Effects of 24-Hour News on American Politics

by Alison Dagnes


In the modern media age, Comedy Central produces news programming, talk radio entertainers are considered political experts, and the Internet substantiates any false rumor with "evidence." Politicians have to bowl, throw back shots, and make fun of themselves for the cameras in their quests for elected office. The time is surely ripe for a lively discussion about the role of the media in American politics.

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Cover image for Politics on Demand

March 2010


Pages 145
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/New Media and Journalism

This riveting book provides a nonpartisan examination of how the technological changes and financial imperatives of the media have led to an entertainment-driven news system poorly suited to report on American politics.

Taking on today's brave new world of political reporting, Politics on Demand: The Effects of 24-Hour News on American Politics examines how the technological changes and financial imperatives of the American media have led to an entertainment-driven news system that cannot meet the needs of a democracy.

Free of partisan slant and easily accessible to all readers, Politics on Demand explains the evolving media system, showing how politicians use the media to sell themselves and how the media uses politicians to its own advantage. The book demonstrates that, with vast amounts of programming time to fill, the spotlight has shifted away from substantive information to opinion, which, in turn, has helped perpetuate partisan politics. Politicians now have to contort themselves to fit within media confines, and political discourse has become extreme and over-simplified. Combining insider interviews with facts, statistics, anecdotes, and analysis, the author, herself a former C-SPAN producer, argues that the American media has become harmful for our nation and a detriment to our political system.


  • Interviews with C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb, Time magazine's TV critic James Poniewozak, Saturday Night Live Weekend Update head writer Alex Baze, and others shed light on today's media
  • A chronology examines the technological progression of the American media and the financial developments of media corporate ownership over the past 50 years


  • Explains the evolving media system with current facts, figures, anecdotes, and insider information
  • Shows how politicians use the media to sell themselves and how the media uses politicians to its own advantage
  • Demonstrates that today's media system is harmful for the process of democracy
Author Info

Alison D. Dagnes, PhD, is associate professor of political science at Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA. Prior to receiving her doctorate in political science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dr. Dagnes was a producer for C-SPAN in Washington, DC.



"Recommended. All readership levels."Choice


"With its focus on changing technology, Alison Dagnes's Politics on Demand is just right for this historical moment. What's more, the book is chock full of the information that any literate American should know about our mass media. Professor Dagnes' prose is clear and very accessible, and just as important, it is lively and funny: students will love this book."—Calvin F. Exoo, Professor and Chair of Government, St. Lawrence University

"The notion that the 'media are failing American government' is not new. What has perplexed lay people and scholars alike for so long, is how and why we got to this point, as well as what can be done to fix it? Three cheers for Alison Dagnes for finally offering us some fresh insight on these questions. Politics on Demand focuses on how technological and financial developments across several media - print, radio, television, and internet - have resulted in the devolution of our politics. It is a chilling, but necessary read, if you want to understand why American politics doesn't and can't work within the current media environment."—Jeanne Zaino, Professor of Political Science, Iona College

Look Inside

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