Towel Snapping the Press: Bush's Journey from Locker-room Antics to Message Control

Towel Snapping the Press: Bush's Journey from Locker-room Antics to Message Control

Paperback Communication, Media, and Politics

By (author) James E. Mueller, Foreword by Marvin N. Olasky


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  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 20mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 12 June 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Lanham, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0742538516
  • ISBN 13: 9780742538511
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

How did George W. Bush change from being a "regular person" in front of reporters to a master of information control? Or was there a change after all? Towel Snapping the Press follows Bush's lifelong association with the press, showing how he has developed and modified his tactics-from his days as part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team to the present, with a look back at young George during his grandfather's 1950 Senate campaign. During Bush's early years in the public eye, the press did not scrutinize him; but as president, he became a subject of intense analysis and his "relaxed" demeanor became a pitfall. Still, many reporters find the president's disposition charming, even while they are frustrated by his message discipline and rigid control of press access to administration sources. Towel Snapping the Press not only presents interesting stories about the president from reporters' points of view, but also raises important issues that any civically engaged citizen will want to explore.

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Author information

James E. Mueller is associate professor of journalism at the University of North Texas.

Review quote

Towel Snapping the Press is an informative book that's also fun to read. That's because Jim Mueller interviewed 29 journalists, recorded their often-amusing anecdotes, and then put present practice into historical perspective. What comes out is a dual portrait of the president and the press. -- Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief, World News Group From The Foreword Mueller's account of the press-presidency relationship during the Bush years is an engaging and informative read. It benefits from the author's work both as a longtime practicing journalist and now as a scholar of political communications. He deftly combines interviews with contemporary journalists with a review and analysis of scholarly works. Some of Mueller's conclusions and suggestions for change will rankle journalists mired to the paradigm of 'objective' reporting. But that is a good thing because such a discussion is crucial to the future of political journalism. -- Mark J. Rozell, professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University As a photojournalist, I have photographed and traveled with George W. Bush and his staff since 1999. Jim has done an amazing and extremely accurate job in examining and defining the Bush administration's success with message management and press control. He also writes a candid inside look at Bush's early years as a businessman and part owner of the Texas Rangers that provides the prequel to understanding why Bush has succeeded when the odds are against him. This book will prove to be essential reading for understanding what has now become a new era in political press management. -- Chris Usher, photojournalist A lively saga of the evolution of how George W. Bush learned to interact with the news media... One of the most entertaining aspects of the book is the countless stories of Bush interacting with members of the news media. Recommended. CHOICE Forty years in the sports media business, dealt personally with the big names who have come through North Texas, and nobody, not Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Mark Cuban, Don Nelson, Dick Motta, etc., could out-glad hand, or out-mad, George W. when it came to what you wrote or said. George W. has a gift in this area, mainly because I think once you remove all the 'political handlers' he ain't a bad guy at all. The George W. we once knew as the Rangers' owner was a totally different cat-open, honest, funny, friendly, combative-than what we now often see from the White House. Mueller's Towel Snapping the Press tells that story, and a lot of stories from all media angles, good and bad. -- Randy Galloway, the Fort-Worth/Dallas Star-Telegram

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 1. Friends for a Long Time Chapter 3 2. Not His Father's (Or Grandfather's) Press Relations Chapter 4 3. Message Discipline Before It Was Cool Chapter 5 4. Plugging Leaks Chapter 6 5. The Dark Side Chapter 7 6. The Plain Talk of Bushisms Chapter 8 7. Towel Snapping Chapter 9 8. Shaving the Ear Hair Chapter 10 9. Eating the Zombies Chapter 11 10. No One Will Do It Better Chapter 12 Bibliography