Political Campaigns and Political Advertising

A Media Literacy Guide

by Frank W. Baker
Foreword by David Considine


Bringing media literacy tools to bear on political campaign coverage and political advertising just as the Internet explodes as a political force, this book will help students and older citizens negotiate the age of political spin.

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Cover image for Political Campaigns and Political Advertising

June 2009


Pages 196
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/General

Examining political campaigns and political advertising through the analytical lens of media literacy, this well-illustrated and timely handbook guides readers through the maze of blandishments and spin that is the hallmark of the modern political campaign. It dissects the persuasive strategies embedded in the political messages we encounter every day in the media and demonstrates the importance of critical thinking in evaluating media stories. Key concepts of media literacy are applied to political advertising in traditional media (newspapers, television, radio) and on the Internet, the new frontier of the political advertising wars. Dealing with blogs, social networking, user-generated Web sites, and other electronic formats familiar to young voters, this lively introduction to the new world of political messaging appeals to readers' affinity for visual learning as well as their ability to discern messages in text.

Unique in applying media literacy concepts to the political context while directly addressing students and general readers, this book not only explains but graphically demonstrates both established techniques of political framing and the new avenues of persuasion being pioneered in digital media. It will also interest viewers who like their political news in traditional media but unconventional formats.


  • Comprehensive coverage of the media as a tool of political campaigns
  • Accessible format intended to appeal to students who are very familiar with the visual organization of the Internet
  • Sidebars highlighting critical thinking/viewing questions; key definitions, facts, dates, and data; telling but offbeat and entertaining trivia
  • Substantial resources section, including timeline, glossary, and annotated lists of print and electronic materials
  • Presentation correlating with state and national curriculum standards
Table of Contents

ForewordAcknowledgmentsList of IllustrationsTimeline: A History of the Media and PoliticsIntroductionChapter 1 Media Literacy: Understanding the Meaning behind the MessagesChapter 2 Propaganda and Spin: The Power of the Image over the WordChapter 3 The Media ExpertsChapter 4 Analyzing PhotographsChapter 5 And Then There Was RadioChapter 6 Why Television?Chapter 7 Popular Appeals and Techniques of Persuasion in Political AdvertisingChapter 8 Analyzing Campaign EventsChapter 9 The Role of New Media and New Technology ToolsChapter 10 Trying to Fix the Money Problem in ElectionsGlossaryResources



". . . a highly recommended addition to academic and community library Political Science reference collections. . . . especially commended to the attention of the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the role media plays in American politics today."
Midwest Book Review

"The author uses clear and easy-to-understand language to examine and interpret the content of media messages in print, image and multimedia forms in an objective manner."Reference & Research Book News

"The book is well researched and extremely well written. It is indexed for ease of use and provides ample citations to back up his findings and for further research. Baker's authority is strong, and the work is free from obvious baas. The photographs, charts, and graphs are well rendered and add to the power of the book. The price is even reasonable. The amount of information presented would make this a great book for circulating as well as reference collections. It would be an excellent addition to the collections of large public libraries and academic libraries supporting programs in communication or political science, and is highly recommended."ARBAonline

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