Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement (Communication, Media, and Politics)

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9780742565289: Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement (Communication, Media, and Politics)

In this completely revised and updated edition (including eight new chapters), Jeffrey Jones charts the evolution and maturation of political entertainment television by examining The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Politically Incorrect/Real Time with Bill Maher, and Michael Moore's T.V. Nation and The Awful Truth. This volume investigates how and why these shows have been central locations for the critique of political and economic power and an important resource for citizens during numerous political crises. In an age of Truthiness, fake news and humorous political talk have proven themselves viable forms of alternative reporting and critical means for ascertaining truth, and in the process, questioning the legitimacy of news media's role as the primary mediator of political life. The book also addresses the persistent claims that these programs have cynical effects and create misinformed young citizens, demonstrating instead how such programming provide for an informed, active, and meaningful citizenship. The new edition takes account of the many changes that have occurred in television and political culture since Entertaining Politics' initial release.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey P. Jones is associate professor of communication at Old Dominion University.

Review:

This thoroughly revised and brilliant second edition brings up to date the story of political television that Jones began with the first edition, and it expands the analysis in exciting new ways, thereby solidifying Jones's preeminence as a scholar who truly gets how politics, entertainment, and citizenship intersect in contemporary American life. All those who sense that the likes of Jon Stewart are doing something important, and all those who need convincing of the fact, should move this excellent book to the top of their reading list. (Jonathan Gray, author of Television Entertainment and Watching the Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality)

Media practitioners and critics, along with a small but growing number of scholars, have increasingly noted the role of entertainment programming in public discourse about politics. Most observers lament this apparent trend, doing so with little attempt to place it in the context of democratic theory or practice. Entertaining Politics helps fill this void and in the process provides a nuanced, provocative―and at times optimistic―view of the changing face of television and politics. (Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania)

These are more than interesting times―they are entertaining ones. And the risk of that is a trivialization of politics, a loss of seriousness, and a spread of ignorance. But does that mean we should simply deride popular culture and the media, or rather that we must address them all the more urgently? Jeff Jones has the answers to these questions, and he acts as a perfect guide along a path to our enlightenment. (Toby Miller, New York University)

Entertaining Politics shows us why we must take satiric television seriously. Jeff Jones' cases and insights help us consider and question the political landscape in important ways. The first edition has been warmly received in my undergraduate survey courses and graduate research seminars; this engaging and detailed second edition will be equally attractive to a wide range of audiences attempting to make sense of the changing face of politics on television. (Sharon Jarvis, University of Texas at Austin)

The book is annotated and could serve as supplementary reading for courses in US electoral politics, communications and politics, and mass media.... Recommended. (CHOICE, August 2010)

Praise for the First Edition:This is a fresh and stimulating contribution to the study of media and politics. Jeffrey Jones underscores in a compelling way the complexity behind such traditional polarities as 'information' and 'entertainment,' and sheds new light on key concepts such as 'engagement.' Looking at contemporary humorous political talk shows on television, Jones highlights with insight and clarity the inexorable links between politics and popular culture. His book marks a major step forward in our understanding of civic culture and its relationship to the ubiquitous media milieu. Demonstrating analytic depth and yet written in an accessible manner, this book will become an important bridge between political communication and cultural studies. (Peter Dahlgren, Lund University)

It is a second edition, but such is the significance of this work that for anyone interested in the intersections of politics and popular culture -- even those who have read the original -- this book is an absolute must-read. (Media International Australia)

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