Eshbaugh-Soha in Understanding
the Public Presidency
Eshbaugh-Soha, Mathew. “The Public Presidency.” New Directions in the American Presidency,
by Lori Han, Routledge, 2011, pp. 54-70.
“The Public Presidency, Eshbaugh-Soha asks four
questions: “What is the public presidency?”, “What does new coverage of the presidency look like?”, “Are presidents successful in influencing news coverage?”, “And what
are the prospects for leadership in light of a changing media environment that
might accentuate, rather than ameliorate, existing constraints and limitations
on effective presidential communication?”. He breaks the problem down
into four main sections: the public
presidency, white house communications, the mediated
presidency, cable and other news. Through these four
parts, Eshbaugh-Soha answers his underlying questions.
To begin with, the author defines presidential leadership
as someone who speaks to the people about policies. The media counts as a
significant part of the president. People learn the most through media which is
why presidents have to appeal to it. The president relies extensively on
communication strategies which include giving weekly radio addresses and interviews.
The president sometimes goes locally to gain public exposure, such as
To communicate effectively with the people, the White House
has a team dedicated to that task. The Office of Communications and the Press Office
are the two main groups responsible for foreseeing that the president’s goals are
achieved. The Office of Communications persuades the media by trying to get
them to write about what the president wants the people to hear. They attempt
to block out the negative aspects of the president. The Press Office conveys
the president’s ideas to the media without the president having to be present. Both
Offices try to present the president in a right personal image. Even though
these teams are made to handle the media, the outcome is less than desirable.