In the pages that follow, we trace the emergence of a place that looks like a real democracy, and a real country, but is in fact a construct, like reality but t real. It is Virtual America. The new techlogies of the 1990s, Ed Diamond and Robert Silverman argue, have helped create a blowhard culture, a talk-show politics driven by instant news analysis, over-reliance on public-opinion polls and focus groups, the power of Kw-Nothing call-in shows, and the unchecked gossip of online computer networks. White House to Your House is a fast-paced account of contemporary media coverage of national politics during a time when the top two books on the best-seller list were by Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Included are lively analyses of what's behind the image makers' takeover of the old Washington policy-making machinery, how Bill Clinton prevailed in 1992 only to lose both his good press and his job approval ratings less than two years later, what the rise of right-wing populism from Ross Perot to Newt Gingrich signifies, how the press struggled to identify Hilary Rodham Clinton, why health care reform was defeated on the front pages of America's newspapers without coming to a vote in the Congress, who makes up the audiences for talk radio and why they're angry, and the effects of proliferating television channels on political coverage. A new epilogue carries the narrative through the 1996 presidential campaign, and the development of on-line Web sites by the candidates, special-interest groups, and news media. The epilogue also assesses the future of both Internet politics and digital journalism.
Edwin Diamond was Professor of Journalism at New York University, where he directed the News Study Group, and was media columnist for New York magazine.