The 2004 American Presidential campaign was a watershed event for many reasons, but especially because the line between statesmanship and showmanship became extremely blurred. Because of the importance of this American election, American Behavioral Scientist is dedicating four issues, entitled Campaign 2004, Volumes 1-4, edited by J. Gregory Payne of Emerson College, to analysis of Campaign 2004, both Presidential and Senatorial, and contemporary issues and dynamics in political communication.
According to public relations guru, James Grunig, political communication is more and more about meaningful relationships the public has with candidates who try to mirror their values, beliefs, and attitudes. Campaign 2004 was unique because of the use of new technologies such as cable television talk shows, the Internet, Web pages, blogs, and VNRs (simulated video new releases) enabled candidates to target their messages and communication images to smaller groups. The new media challenged the traditional mainstream media by providing a venue for unrestrained, less commercial, and sometimes more global information. Campaign 2004 also shamelessly used staged pseudoevents and celebrity spectacles as "infotainment,' and spent over $620 million on mostly negative political advertising to spell out issues and to try to set the future political agenda. The four volumes of Campaign 2004 evaluate the successes and failures of Campaign 2004 and offer some practical insights for future campaigns.
Volume I of Campaign 2004 concentrates on campaign rhetoric and the battle for attention in the campaign primaries. Volume 2 changes direction by focusing on the effectiveness of presidential debates, political advertising, and leadership, as well as showcasing the Senate races in South Dakota and Illinois. Volume 3 considers trends in new media, mediated reality, and the politics of pseudoevents and celebrity/spectacle, while Volume 4 offers international reflections and perspectives on democracy, and elections in the Middle East and Europe.
Campaign 2004, Volumes 1-4 belongs in the library of every one interested in political science, political communication, international relations, mass communication, mass media, journalism, sociology, marketing/advertising, discourse analysis, and rhetoric.
Volume 1: Constructing the New American Ideals/Idols in Democracy (ISBN: 1-4129-3921-6)
Volume 2: De/Constructing the Mediated Realities of Presidential debates, Political Advertising, and Showvase Senate Races (ISBN: 1-4129-3922-4)
Volume 3: The Political Celebrity Spectacle: De/Constructing Image Meaning/Mongering (ISBN: 1-4129-3923-2)
Volume 4: Style versus Substance in E-Politics and International Perspectives on Democracy (ISBN: 1-4129-3924-0)