Tracing the evolution of political advertising from 1952 through 2016, Darrell M. West returns with his much anticipated Seventh Edition of Air Wars: Television Advertising and Social Media in Election Campaigns, 1952-2016. Integrating the latest data and key events from the 2016 campaigns–including the most provocative presidential campaign in recent decades and the surprising victory of Donald Trump–West provides in-depth examination and insight into how candidates plan and execute advertising and social media campaigns, how the media covers these campaigns, and how American voters are ultimately influenced by them. This new edition includes coverage of social media campaigning, nano-targeting strategies in a fragmented electorate, and thorough analysis of the 2016 presidential campaign, from the candidates’ use of Twitter to concerns over falsehoods and deception, the impact of ads and debates on candidate perceptions, and the risks to democratic elections from new campaign developments.

Media Coverage

Media Coverage

Reporters used to be governed by the norms of old-style journalism—the “who, what, where, when, and how” approach to newsgathering. Candidates’ statements were reported more or less at face value; behind-the-scenes machinations fell outside the news; and, by implicit agreement, the private behavior of political leaders was pretty much ignored. However, candidate deception about a range of issues led reporters to take more interpretive and investigative approaches to newsgathering. Rather than sticking to hard news, journalists today see a responsibility to put “the facts” in broader context.

Changes in the nature of presidential selection created new opportunities for reporters.1 The decline in the power of party leaders, rise in the number of primaries, and extension of races over a number of months ...

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