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Political Junkies

Political Junkies

From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy

A wide-ranging history of seventy years of change in political media, and how it transformed — and fractured — American politics

With fake news on Facebook, trolls on Twitter, and viral outrage everywhere, it’s easy to believe that the internet changed politics entirely. In Political Junkies, historian Claire Bond Potter shows otherwise, revealing the roots of today’s dysfunction by situating online politics in a longer history of alternative political media.

From independent newsletters in the 1950s to talk radio in the 1970s to cable television in the 1980s, pioneers on the left and right developed alternative media outlets that made politics more popular, and ultimately, more partisan. When campaign operatives took up e-mail, blogging, and social media, they only supercharged these trends. At a time when political engagement has never been greater and trust has never been lower, Political Junkies is essential reading for understanding how we got here.

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Genre: Nonfiction / History / United States / 20th Century

On Sale: July 7th 2020

Price: $19.99 / $24.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 9781541645004

Reader Reviews


"I'm a political junkie, and if you're reading this, you probably are too. Which means you're going to want to grab Claire Potter's new book and dive in. This vivid, lively narrative shows us how the rise of political populism and the emergence of alternative media have gone hand in hand. Spotlighting the operatives you haven't heard of, the innovations you didn't know about, and the stories you haven't heard, Potter reveals the history that happened when we were looking the other way. The gatekeepers have fallen, the barbarians are inside the city, and Political Junkies -- with insight, fresh detail, and delicious wit -- makes sense of how it all happened."—David Greenberg, author of Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency
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