Prime Ministers and the Media: Issues of Power and Control

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Issues of power and control - the endless efforts of political leaders to be understood as they would like - lie at the core of this revealing new study. At a time when media saturate politics, how - and how successfully - can prime ministers manage their public communication? Sometimes they dominate media, like Tony Blair in the late 1990s; at others they are victims, like John Major before him. After examining what the job of prime minister demands of its holders in the way of public communication, and what resources are available, the book goes on to trace the growth of the Downing Street press office from inconspicuous beginnings to contentious prominence. But many factors affecting a prime minister's public image are not open to direct control: the book explores a contrasting selection of these, including political rumours, political places (the nature of a 'capital city'), political cartoons (a range of which is reproduced in the book) and media barons. The focus is on contemporary and there are frequent international comparisons, especially with the USA.