The Emergence and Scope of the Voice of Government: Propaganda, Civic Information, or Both?
Nowadays, we all tend to be annoyed by bureaucracy and by propaganda, if only because both touch our daily lives. This book examines the intersection of those two subjects: external communications emanating from government agencies. When bureaucracies communicate with us directly or via the news media, are we being bombarded with self-serving propaganda or with helpful information to improve our lives? Perhaps it is a mash-up of both purposes?
This book examines the scope, uses, and history of government communications. Topics of discussion include digital government, disaster communication, relations between the media and government, agency spokespersons, democratic reporting to the citizenry, wartime public relations (PR), and how US presidents and the US Congress treated bureaucratic PR. Several chapters are historical case studies, such as about an astronaut who became US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. In addition, two chapters examine President Nixon’s record, while, in a more light-hearted vein, another presents the pop culture image of government spokespersons in movies. The book concludes with the origins of the academic study of external communications in public administration.
Mordecai Lee is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he taught for 22 years. He received a Master’s and PhD in Public Administration from Syracuse University, New York. Before his faculty appointment, he was a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, legislative assistant to a Member of Congress, executive director of a faith-based nonprofit organization, and elected to the Wisconsin Legislature’s State Assembly for three terms and State Senate for two terms. He is the author of 11 books, 70 journal articles, and 14 book chapters. His primary interests are public administration, government history, and public relations.
“Mordecai Lee could be considered the historian, documentarian, and cheerleader of communication in the public sector. This collection of his research is a valuable academic resource for the scope and history of public relations in public administration.“
Associate Professor J. Suzanne Horsley
Department of Advertising & Public Relations, The University of Alabama
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