SEE HOW THEY RUN: Electing the President in an Age of Mediaocracy by Paul Taylor

SEE HOW THEY RUN: Electing the President in an Age of Mediaocracy

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An oddly self-conscious, stylish, and anecdotal insider's account of the 1988 election and the electoral process--starring the media itself--by the Washington Post reporter who asked Gary Hart the big question: ""Have you ever committed adultery?"" Taylor modestly exploits his own rise to national prominence in the opening chapters here, a confession/rebuttal aimed at those (and he admits there were many) who thought he crossed the line of ""good taste"" in his attack on Hart. He privileges us to meetings with Hart when the former senator was brusque or condescending, and admits that a combination of personal animus and professional duty motivated his skewering of Hart. This personal approach to the electoral process and his own profession is unique and refreshing and characterizes Taylor's appraisals of everything from the ethics of journalism to the personalities of candidates (Jesse Jackson ""knows he can motivate but doubts he can administer"") and electoral reform: he suggests that the networks give each candidate five free minutes on alternating nights leading up to Presidential elections. His style is punchy, epigrammatic (""Nowadays a political rally is three people in front of a television set""), and his deepest insight is seeing media scandal frenzies and campaign attack ads as dangerously analogous: both find a ""wart"" and make it represent the political whole. Despite a tendency to cover familiar ground familiarly and to lament the obvious, Taylor successfully charts the national electoral malaise--and even accepts some of the blame for it.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1990
Publisher: Knopf