Category Archives: Stephen Farnsworth

Farnsworth Publishes Book on Presidential Communication

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, is author of a new book, Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump, published by Routledge Press.

From the Publisher: This book traces the evolution of White House news management during America’s changing media environment over the past two decades. Comparing and contrasting the communication strategies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, it demonstrates the difficulty that all presidents have in controlling their messages despite a seemingly endless array of new media outlets and the great advantages of the office. That difficulty is compounded by new media’s amplification of presidential character traits for good or ill. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube notwithstanding, presidential power still resides in the “power to persuade,” and that task remains a steep challenge.

The book also looks at the media strategies of candidates during the 2016 presidential campaign and covers the early phase of the Trump administration, the first true Twitter presidency.

More information

C-Span interview on "Presidential Communication and Character"

Column: Trump will Probably be the Most Ridiculed President Ever (“Monkey Cage,” Washington Post)

Trump will Probably be the Most Ridiculed President Ever (“Monkey Cage,” Washington Post)
By Stephen J. Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter and Deanne Canieso

Donald Trump takes office as the most ridiculed presidential candidate in the history of late-night television talk shows. Not only did he far surpass the number of jokes directed at his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, but he even exceeded the totals aimed at Bill Clinton during his scandal-plagued presidency two decades ago.

A new analysis of late-night humor by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found that the New York developer was the subject of 1,817 jokes between Jan. 1, 2016 and Nov. 11, 2016, a few days after Election Day. That’s more than triple the 506 jokes directed at Hillary Clinton. Going back to the 1992 contest, CMPA found that comedians have never focused on a presidential candidate the way they have on Trump.

Link to column

Editorial: President Trump (Free-Lance Star)

This was not a traditional inaugural address in which the president tries to reach out to those who didn’t support him. Stephen Farnsworth, professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, said previous Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush extended olive branches to opponents in hopes of unifying the nation.

“Donald Trump wants to distinguish himself from previous presidents,” Farnsworth said. “It appears his combative campaign style will be replaced with a combative governing style.”

Calling it “vintage Trump,” he said, “His inaugural address was consistent with his campaign themes. It was aggressive and made it clear where he wants to take this country.”

Link to report

Sanders Expected to Endorse Clinton (CTV News Canada)

ctv news

Professor Stephen Farnsworth of the University of Mary Washington said that Bernie Sanders waited to endorse Hillary Clinton as a deliberate strategy to push the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton in a more liberal direction. Although he fell short of securing the party’s presidential nomination, Sanders succeeded in drawing a lot of attention to his key issue areas, including improved health care, more affordable higher education, and a $15 an hour minimum wage, Farnsworth said.

Link to report

Financial Advantage for Clinton (CTV News Canada)

ctv news

Professor Stephen Farnsworth of the University of Mary Washington said that Donald Trump is falling further and further behind Hillary Clinton in the collection of campaign cash and the building of a campaign staff in competitive states. Compared to Republican nominees John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, Trump lags badly, Farnsworth said.

Link to report

Farnsworth Lectures at Boys’ State of Virginia

Virginia FlagStephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, delivered a lecture titled “Virginia’s Candidate Selection Process: Examining Recent Primaries and Conventions” at the American Legion Boys’ State of Virginia at Radford University on Monday, June 20.

The week-long government education program brings together nearly 700 of the state’s top high school students for a week of political conversation and simulations.