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Cover of American Government and Politics in the Information Age  v5.0
October 2021
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ISBN (Digital): 

American Government and Politics in the Information Age

Version 5.0
By David L. Paletz, Diana Owen, and Timothy E. Cook

Key Features

  • Comprehensive treatment covers standard topics in the American government course.
  • Contemporary theme of how media and politics interact ties the narrative together without inflating or distorting the media’s importance.
  • Strong focus on civic education encourages participation in civic life. Explains how students can use media to intervene effectively in the American political system on their own terms.
  • Strong learning framework. Each chapter contains:
    • Learning objectives, interim summaries called “Key Takeaways,” and key terms.
    • “Enduring Image” features that visually capture the chapter’s subject by presenting an instantly recognizable image. Explains the original meaning of the image, why it was important, and the contemporary relevance.
    • “Comparing Content” features that present differences among media depictions of a subject. For example, this feature may compare a political event to reports about it in the news, depictions of the same political event in various media outlets, or compare changes in media depictions over time.
    • Certain chapters contain “Civic Education” features that show how young people have become involved in politics, government, and making public policy—and how the media can help and hinder civic work.
    • Annotated set of readings (fiction and non-fiction) and films (feature and documentary) for research and enrichment are included for each chapter. Links to video and audio clips, political and media websites, and research databases are included throughout the text.


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American Government and Politics in the Information Age is designed for American (United States) government and politics courses at the undergraduate level at two- and four-year colleges, and universities. A comprehensive and lively introduction, this textbook covers all the basics of the vital subject of American government.

Inspired by students’ familiarity with mass media and fluent use of communication technologies, the authors make explicit connections between the book’s subject matter, media, and technology. The book’s main areas of focus are: 1) How the media interact with and depict the American political system, 2) The similarities and differences between these depictions and the real world of government and politics, and 3) The consequences these interactions and depictions have on the public, politics at all levels, and government operations and policies. Students develop a keener perception of how the media convey information, and how students themselves can engage productively in politics.

New in This Version

The first three chapters have been re-sequenced as follows:

  • The fundamentals of the Constitution and the structure of American government are now discussed in the first chapter (Chapter 1: “The Constitution and the Structure of Government Power”)
  • Chapter 2: “Federalism” now follows Chapter 1
  • The new placement of Chapter 3: “Communication in the Information Age” (formerly Chapter 1) better aligns with how many adopters prefer to organize their courses

New, updated, or substantially revised coverage of the following has been included in this version:

  • The Confederate battle flag, the intergovernmental lobby, and police reform (Chapter 2: “Federalism”)
  • Selective exposure, selective perception, selective retention, and polarization (Chapter 3: “Communication in the Information Age”)
  • Recent civil rights developments and the increasing importance of Civil War Amendments (Chapter 5: “Civil Rights”)
  • Political norms and rituals and repercussions of violating them, the relationship between “Stop the Steal” and the January 6th insurrection, and political efficacy (Chapter 6: “Political Culture and Socialization”)
  • Public opinion, polling in the digital age, and the impact of the pandemic upon presidential election polling (Chapter 7: “Public Opinion”)
  • The 2020 U.S. presidential election voter turnout, voter participation based on socioeconomic status, age, gender, and race, changes in the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. electorate, unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, disenfranchised felons, voter suppression, and citizen activity with focus on Black Lives Matter protests (Chapter 8: “Participation, Voting, and Social Movements”)
  • The evolution and demise of interest groups, lobbying and the President, and lobbying government agencies (Chapter 9: “Interest Groups”)
  • Liz Cheney’s ouster from House Republican Party Chair, differences between Democrats and Republicans and increased polarization, new key term “party discipline,” divided government and challenges faced by the Biden Administration due to slim party control of Congress, recent trends in Congress, data on party identification and party realignment, and parties’ use of digital media to organize the electorate (Chapter 10: “Political Parties”)
  • The 2020 presidential and congressional elections, campaign finance data, escalating costs of political campaigns, state government efforts to curb “dark money,” big data and microtargeting, new key terms “AI” and “voter files,” new digital campaigns such as gaming, the media’s treatment of Biden and Trump during the 2020 election cycle, candidate advertising, the 2020 presidential debates, and California’s 2021 gubernatorial recall election (Chapter 11: “Campaigns and Elections”)
  • Trump’s first and second impeachments, redistricting based on the 2020 census, notable congressional actions, the CARES Act, The American Rescue Plan, congressional leaders, Constitutional provisions for disciplining congressional members, demographics of congressional members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her media presence, and use of social media by congressional members (Chapter 12: “Congress”)
  • The presidency under Trump and particularly in light of the Mueller Report, the U.S. Justice Department under Attorney General Barr, the final days of the Trump presidency, and the advent of the Biden presidency (Chapter 13: “The Presidency).
  • The role of Inspector General, regulatory committees and airline crashes, and J. Edgar Hoover (Chapter 14: “The Bureaucracy”)
  • The nomination and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Chapter 15: “The Courts”)
  • The government’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic with specific focus on the Biden Administration’s response and new information about how former Governor Andrew Cuomo handled the crisis (Chapter 16: “Policymaking and Domestic Politics”)
  • The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan (Chapter 17: “Foreign and National Security Policies”)
  • Recommended Reading and Recommended Viewing updated throughout the text
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Instructor’s Manual

Instructor’s Manual

The Instructor’s Manual guides you through the main concepts of each chapter and important elements such as learning objectives, key terms, and key takeaways. Can include answers to chapter exercises, group activity suggestions, and discussion questions.

Instructor’s Manual

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

A PowerPoint presentation highlighting key learning objectives and the main concepts for each chapter are available for you to use in your classroom. You can either cut and paste sections or use the presentation as a whole.

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

Test Generator - powered by Cognero

Test Generator - powered by Cognero

FlatWorld has partnered with Cognero, a leading online assessment system, that allows you to create printable tests from FlatWorld provided content.

Test Bank Files for Import to Learning Management Systems

Test Bank Files for Import to Learning Management Systems

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Test Item File

Test Item File

Need assistance in supplementing your quizzes and tests? Our test-item files (in Word format) contain many multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short-answer questions.

Sample Syllabi

Sample Syllabi

Sample syllabi provide useful templates to help new faculty adopters revise their teaching plans to match their assigned FlatWorld textbook or lend insights to existing adopters on how to organize their classes.


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David L. Paletz Duke University

David L. Paletz (PhD University of California at Los Angeles) is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He has been director of Duke’s Film/Video/Digital Program and for six years the editor of Political Communication. His degrees are all from the University of California, Los Angeles. Paletz specializes in American government and politics (defined broadly to include the foundations, public, institutions, and processes) and political communication (defined broadly to include news, opinion, and entertainment). Among the courses he has taught are American Government, Politics and the Media in the U.S., Film and Politics, Documentary Film, and Politics and the Libido. He is the author of The Media in American Politics: Contents and Consequences, 2nd ed. (Routledge), and co-author of Media Power Politics (Free Press, 1983) and Politics in Public Service Advertising on Television (Praeger, 1977). He is the editor of and a contributor to Political Communication in Action (Hampton Press, 1996) and Political Communication Research, vols. I and II (Ablex, 1987 and 1996); a co-editor and contributor to Taken by Storm: Media, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf War (University of Chicago Press, 1994), and Terrorism and the Media (Sage, 1992); co-author of Business as Usual (Hampton Press, 2003) and Glasnost and After: Media and Change in Eastern/Central Europe (Hampton Press, 1995); and the author or co-author of some sixty other publications. He created and chaired for many years the Political Communication Research Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research and chaired the Political Communication Section of the American Political Science Association. Among his research and teaching awards are a Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association, a Humanities Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, two Fulbright Scholarships, and the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award from Duke University. In 2012 he received the David Swanson Award for Service to Political Communication Scholarship from the Political Communication Sections of the American Political Science Association and the International Communication Association.

Diana Owen Georgetown University

Diana Owen (PhD University of Wisconsin) is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Civic Education Research Lab ( at Georgetown University where she teaches in the Communication, Culture, and Technology graduate program. She is a graduate of George Washington University and received her doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Diana has been an American Political Science Association Congressional Media Fellow and is the recipient of the Daniel Roselle Award from the Middle States Association for the Social Studies. She is the author, with Richard Davis, of New Media and American Politics (Oxford, 1998) and Media Messages in American Presidential Elections (Greenwood, 1991). She is a coeditor of The Internet and Politics: Citizens, Voters, and Activists (Routledge, 2006) with Sarah Oates and Rachel Gibson; she is a coeditor of Making a Difference: The Internet and Elections in Comparative Perspective (Lexington, 2009) with Richard Davis, Stephen Ward, and David Taras; and a coeditor of Internet Election Campaigns in the United States, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). She has published in numerous scholarly journal articles and book chapters in the areas of American government, mass political behavior, political communication, media and politics, political socialization, civic education, and elections and voting behavior. Her most recent work focuses on digital media in American elections and the intersection of civic education and political engagement. She is the recipient of several grants from the U.S. Department of Education supporting programs and research on high-needs primary and secondary school students. She is grateful for the support of her husband of over forty years, Jeffrey, and her cats, Bella and Gio.

Timothy E. Cook Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge

Timothy E. Cook (1954–2006) was a political scientist who held the Kevin P. Reilly, Sr. Chair of Political Communication at Louisiana State University from 2001 after twenty years as a professor at Williams College. He was the first occupant of the Laurence Lombard Chair at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and was a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School. Tim was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow which afforded him the opportunity to study the internal workings of Congress as a participant observer. He made lasting contributions in the fields of American government and media and politics. He is the author of the landmark works, Making News and Making Laws: Media Strategies in the House of Representatives (Brookings, 1987) and Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution (University of Chicago, 1999 and 2005). Tim was a coauthor of Crosstalk: Citizens, Candidates, and the Media in a Presidential Campaign (University of Chicago Press, 1996). Both Governing with the News and Crosstalk were honored with the Doris Graber Award of the Political Communication Section of the American Political Science Association for the best book published in ten years. Tim also was the editor of Freeing the Presses: The First Amendment in Action (Louisiana State University Press, 2006). In addition to these works, Tim published journal articles and book chapters in the fields of legislative studies, presidential politics, elections and voting behavior, political communication, political socialization, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual politics. Tim was inducted in the Louisiana State University Manship School Hall of Fame in 2011. Tim passed away from brain cancer at the age of 51. He is survived by his spouse, Jack Yeager, a professor of French at Louisiana State University.

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