There’s no question the first four presidents of the internet age are different, but Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump share one thing in common: They have emphasized their personal character to win office and to fight back against critics. In his new book Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump, University of Mary Washington Political Science Professor Stephen J. Farnsworth examines how presidents sell themselves and their policies in an ever-expanding and sometimes precarious media environment.
“Character conversations are ideal for a modern media system that gives rise to short-attention-span politics,” said Farnsworth, a sought-after political commentator who has spent decades researching presidential communications and the media. “They also serve the politicians’ interests, as constantly distracted news consumers may not remember when politicians said one thing yesterday and a different thing today, much less punish them for inconsistency. With the various modern media cocoons that exist today, a person may never hear a president called to account for a comment that turned out to be false.”
Dr. Farnsworth is professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington. A published author and a media ‘go-to’ on presidential politics, he is available to speak with media regarding this issue. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.
Stephen Farnsworth Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Dr. Farnsworth has spent decades researching how media and politics intersect. Check out his website at stephenfarnsworth.net.