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Palgrave Macmillan

The Unilateral Presidency and the News Media

The Politics of Framing Executive Power

ISBN 9781137393067
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series The Evolving American Presidency

Since President George Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793, there has been an ongoing debate concerning the proper scope and exercise of presidential unilateral powers. With a mere 'stroke of the pen,' presidents can change the political status quo. However, the Constitution is silent about these powers, Congress seldom acts to limit them, and the public is usually unaware of this aspect of executive power. This book investigates the role of the news media in bringing attention to these unwritten powers of the presidency, examining the amount of coverage, type of frames that are used, who influences the frames, and whether these frames place the unilateral powers of the American presidency in a constitutional context.

Mark Major is the Associate Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is the editor of Where Do We Go from Here? American Democracy and the Renewal of the Radical Imagination.

1. Introduction: The Unitary Executive and the News Media
2. Headlining Presidential Power: New York Times Front-Page Coverage of Executive Orders from Truman through Clinton
3. Torturing Unilateralism: The Case of Abu Ghraib, the News Media, and a Broken Political System
4. Unilateralism Tortured: Critical Press Coverage of the McCain Amendment and Signing Statements
5. Predator in Chief: Framing Obama's Drone Warfare
6. Going It E-Lone in the 2012 Election: Covering Obama's We Can't Wait in the Traditional and Online Public Spheres
7. Conclusion: The Unilateral Presidency, the News Media, and the Politics of Hiding in Plain Sight


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