Cover image for The next hurrah : the communications revolution in American politics
The next hurrah : the communications revolution in American politics
Armstrong, Richard, 1952-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Beech Tree Books, [1988]

Physical Description:
300 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

A survey of state-of-the-art politicking in America, Armstrong's book makes for unpleasant reading. Direct mail, TV ads, computer telephoning, satellite news conferences, laser video discs-all of the new tools of the trade receive scrutiny. Slowly the suspicion grows that high-tech is transforming and fundamentally distorting the American political process. A candidate's advertising style may count more in future elections than his or her platform. Americans concerned about the health of our electoral process should read this book, though they won't enjoy it. Himself a direct-mail writer, Armstrong has clearly rushed his book to press in an election year. It needs four more rewrites with a good style manual. Notes, bibliography; to be indexed. BJC. 324.7'3 Electioneering-U.S.-Technological innovations / Mass media-Political aspects-U.S. / U.S.-Politics and government-1981- [OCLC] 87-33283

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers may be horrified at the potential political-campaign marketing projected by this study, but they will nonetheless be intrigued. Armstrong, a direct-mail executive, covers the new communication technologies and shows how they have changed the political process in the U.S. Interestingly, he maintains that direct mail is dying as a political device because of growing illiteracy in the country. But he catalogues techniques that will replace it, particularly telemarketing, the marriage of an ordinary telephone to a computer; cable television, which is not only inexpensive but can be targeted geographically, demographically and psychographically; and satellites, which make it possible for a candidate to reach selected areas or all parts of the nation simultaneously. Then there are such innovations as electronic mail, bidirectional cable and videotex. The book is crucial not ony for candidates and campaign workers but also for those who cast ballots. (April) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

pol sci Armstrong's experience with direct mail led him to examine the newer technologies that are replacing direct mailings as a campaign tactic. He reviews the past effectiveness of direct mail, then explains the political uses of cable TV, satellites, telemarketing, electronic mail, and videotex. He investigates computerized control of voting lists, video press releases, and Pat Robertson's use of satellite technology as an organizational tool. Rich in examples from state, local, and national campaigns, his work can serve as a text for campaign managers and an introduction for general readers. Seib covers the interplay between politicians and the press, objectively examining their ``not-so-peaceful coexistence.'' He refrains from attacking the press, but stresses that ``news media power must be equaled by news media responsibility.'' He discusses briefly the impact of presidential debates on the election, the scope of television's power, limitations on campaign coverage, the tension between print and electronic journalism, and the candidate's projected image. He devotes a lengthy chapter to press coverage of Reagan (1964-87) and another to a capsule history of political advertising. While this book may lack the depth of Covering Campaigns by Peter Clarke and Susan H. Evans ( LJ 4/1/83), it is a lively and balanced overview. Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Describing the 1986 election campaign as "sickening" and "revolting," Armstrong believes that the television techniques, not the nastiness, are new to politics. He singles out videotape, telemarketing, cable, satellites, and computers, each of which merit a chapter. A "junk-mail writer," Armstrong devotes four additional chapters to the enormous power of direct mail upon elections. Using an often confessional, and even flippant style, he frankly describes invasion of privacy, exploitation of the elderly, plagiarism, scare tactics, gimmickry, and "gutter politics" as the methods the new information technologies employ in campaigns. The book is well written and organized, full of descriptive interviews, personal experiences, and secondary information--the latter listed in a selected bibliography. The author contends that candidates are not just being packaged for a gullible public, but have become the package, and that new technologies create a political cocoon in which the greatest danger is that our behavior is going unobserved by anyone other than ourselves. A must in this election year; it complements very well JoeMcGinnis's The Selling of the President (CH, Jan '70) and Theodore Roszak's The Cult of Information (CH, Sep '86). -J. A. Lent, Temple University