Congressional Communication Managers’ Roles, Motivations and Messages Related to U.S. Foreign Policy

Edward J. Downes 1 *

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Abstract

This analysis provides a broad overview of the roles, motivations and messages of the United States Congress’ 500+ press secretaries/communications managers employed by virtually every U.S. senator and representative. It focuses, in particular and for the first time, on their communications related to U.S. foreign (as opposed to domestic) policies. Doing so it summarizes select findings from a book the author has written, the prospectus for which is under review, with the title, Press Secretary: The Story of Capitol Hill’s Image Makers.
The analysis reports the press secretaries build close relationships with the Members of Congress they faithfully serve; function best when practicing the Two-Way Symmetrical Model of public relations; use common persuasive techniques employed by public relations specialists worldwide; stress “truthfulness” in their communications; practice a “wave model” when choosing issues on which to focus; experience new media’s challenges and opportunities; and suggests their work ultimately serves the U.S. democracy.
The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.
- Marshall McLuhan

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 5, Issue September 2015 - Special Issue, pp. 15-25

Published Online: 01 Sep 2015

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