Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Going public" revised

In his well-known book Going Public, political scientist Samuel Kernell argues that modern presidents have the ability to move legislation by appealing to the people directly rather than negotiating with members of Congress. This strategy of "going public" has its limitations, as he acknowledges, but it can also be a powerful strategy for forcing Congress to move along with the tides of public opinion.

A story today on ABCNews points out that President Obama is using social media tools, such as Youtube, Flickr, and Facebook to sidestep traditional media outlets and speak directly to the public. This seems to be a new sort of "going public" that not only ignores Congress but ignores the media, too. How effective this strategy will be remains to be seen.


  1. I can't help but wonder how much people really pay attention to the President's message when it isn't repackaged by the media in some way. For example,I know that Obama releases YouTube addresses directly to the public, but I don't pay attention to them unless the newspaper points it out in some way.

  2. I understand that social media is the new method of communication, and that my generation, the 18-24 year olds of the world, are in the forefront of this phenomenon. However I must have missed the memo somewhere. I have Facebook and even Twitter, yet I utilize them only for recreational purposes. While I understand that the current administration and Congress attempts to connect to the people through these methods, I agree with DL, and still turn to newspapers as my primary sources for current events. There is something about the formality of a newspaper that makes me take issues more seriously.