Solid Discussion Of Sometimes Obscure History. Full disclosure up front: As a former political blogger who was an organizer of one of the Tea Party events (before the professionals got involved) and as both a Party Official (for the Libertarian Party, at both local and State levels) and Candidate (for City Council in a town encompassing an area just four square miles), I actively participated in some of the history Potter discusses here. Though quite a bit of it was before I was born – she begins her discussion in the 1950s, before even my parents were born, and I would come along during Ronald Reagan’s first term as US President but not become truly politically active until November 5, 2008.
But even as someone with the aforementioned background, even as someone who once had a very high level of behind the scenes access within at least State level politics of at least one State, this truly seems like a comprehensive and accurate history of how we got to where we now find ourselves as Americans relating to politics through media. Potter has done a remarkable job of showing how various movements and moments played on and into each other, building on and around prior and contemporary techniques to go from a dude in his garage just trying to present news the Big 3 weren’t to the modern era of ubiquitous cameras and Deep Fake technology. Though actual Deep Fake tech is one area Potter doesn’t *truly* get into, likely as it hasn’t been shown to be actually active in political circles in the US. Yet. Truly an excellent work, and anyone who is interested in why we are as fractured as we are as a populace would do well to read this to at least know how we got here from an alternative media side. If you’re discussing regulation of social media or complaining about the vitriol far too many online discussions turn to, read here to find out how we got to this point – and a couple of passing ideas on how we can do a little better. Very much recommended.
This review of Political Junkies by Claire Bond Potter was originally written on July 4, 2020.