Jimmy Carter and the Birth of the Marathon Media Campaign
352 Pages / 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.31 in / 6 halftones
- Hardcover /
- 9780807170793 /
- Published: May 2020
- eBook /
- 9780807173619 /
- Published: May 2020
With the rise of Jimmy Carter, a former Georgia governor and a relative newcomer to national politics, the 1976 presidential election proved a transformative moment in U.S. history, heralding a change in terms of how candidates run for public office and how the news media cover their campaigns.
Amber Roessner’s Jimmy Carter and the Birth of the Marathon Media Campaign chronicles a change in the negotiation of political image-craft and the role it played in Carter’s meteoric rise to the presidency. She contends that Carter’s underdog victory signaled a transition from an older form of party politics focused on issues and platforms to a newer brand of personality politics driven by the manufacture of a political image.
Roessner offers a new perspective on the production and consumption of media images of the peanut farmer from Plains who became the thirty-ninth president of the United States. Carter’s miraculous win transpired in part because of carefully cultivated publicity and advertising strategies that informed his official political persona as it evolved throughout the Democratic primary and general-election campaigns. To understand how media relations helped shape the first post-Watergate presidential election, Roessner examines the practices and working conditions of the community of political reporters, public relations agents, and advertising specialists associated with the Carter bid. She draws on materials from campaign files and strategic memoranda; radio and TV advertisements; news and entertainment broadcasts; newspaper and magazine coverage; and recent interviews with Carter, prominent members of his campaign staff, and over a dozen journalists who reported on the 1976 election and his presidency.
With its focus on the inner workings of the bicentennial election, Jimmy Carter and the Birth of the Marathon Media Campaign offers an incisive view of the transition from the yearlong to the permanent campaign, from New Deal progressivism to New Right conservatism, from issues to soundbites, and from objective news analysis to partisan commentary.
What accounts for candidate Jimmy Carter’s remarkable success at image-making and President Carter’s utter failure to project the right image? That is the key question about Carter and the press, and this impressively researched book answers it definitively. In clear, compelling prose, Roessner explains the transformations in political journalism and campaign tactics that shaped Carter’s fortunes. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of campaign coverage. ~Matthew Pressman, author of "On Press: The Liberal Values That Shaped the News"
Though I thought I knew most everything about Jimmy Carter, Amber Roessner told a lot about the backstage maneuvering that I did not. ~Wesley G. Pippert, correspondent for United Press International during the Carter administration and author of "The Spiritual Journey of Jimmy Carter, in His Own Words"
Jimmy Carter and the Birth of the Marathon Media Campaign brought back a lot of memories, reminded me of events I had forgotten, and informed me of things I never knew. ~Curtis Wilkie, national correspondent for the "Boston Globe" during the Carter administration and coauthor with Thomas Oliphant of "The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK's Five-year Campaign"