This study analyzes how the owner of the Facebook Arabic page “We Are All Khaled Said” both catalyzed and took advantage of opportunities in the Egyptian political climate in order to help promote the country’s 2011 revolution. Using a content analysis of posts on the Facebook page before and throughout the Egyptian revolution, the case study finds that the owner of the page, Wael Ghonim, served as a long-term trainer or coach, educating his online followers about the abuses of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and helping them gradually become more comfortable with political activism, so that when a triggering event—the Tunisian revolution—occurred, he was able to move his followers into the streets to protest. Two other particularly successful tactics were utilized by Ghonim: He capitalized on a powerful personal story—that of a young man brutally killed by the police—in order to elicit emotion and help others identify with the cause, and he used lofty rhetoric to convince his followers that their actions could actually make a difference. The case study disproves Gladwell’s (2010) claim that social media is a platform for shallow and networked interactions, finding both that the grievances and ideas shared on this page were remarkably substantive and that the movement was not a network but rather a hierarchy, led by Ghonim until his imprisonment. The study suggests that social media is a more powerful platform for promoting political change than previously appreciated and offers important lessons for political activists.
Every modern president of the United States has been bedeviled by unauthorized leaks of government information to the press. Who is responsible for such leaks? Presidents of the United States have accused civil servants of attempting to undermine them. However, journalists have suggested that the presidents' own political appointees leak more. Using interviews conducted in 2013 with both presidential political appointees and civil servants who worked in public affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department during the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as interviews with reporters with whom the Treasury officials interacted frequently, this case study finds that political appointees and civil servants leak unauthorized information that does not serve the president's interests to the press with roughly the same frequency. The findings shed light on behavior that is typically shrouded in secrecy and call into question the effort by modern U.S. presidents to gain greater control of the federal government by hiring record numbers of political appointees. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Purpose This study investigated whether political appointees or civil servants are more effective spokespeople for the President of the United States. Design/methodology/approach A series of rare, detailed, confidential interviews were conducted with civil servants and political appointees who worked in public affairs for the U.S. Department of the Treasury under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as with reporters who interacted with the officials frequently. Findings The findings suggest that civil servants more effectively advance the President’s positions in the press than political appointees. Reporters place significantly less trust in information they receive from political appointees because they assume that appointees are politically motivated – a phenomenon this study calls the “appointee discount.” Appointees also have significantly less knowledge of the policies they are responsible for communicating. Civil servants are therefore positioned to more effectively shape media coverage on behalf of the President. Research limitations/implications The findings suggest that the increased use of political appointees by modern Presidents may have been misguided. Further research should be conducted in other government agencies to confirm the findings. Practical implications The findings suggest that it would be in the interests of the President of the United States to use civil servants rather than political appointees as spokespeople for non-political policies. Originality/value This is the first study to investigate whether political appointees or civil servants better advance the interests of the President of the United States in the press.
This research measures the boundaries of the "permanent campaign" practiced by spokespeople for the United States government.Scholars have accused modern White House communications staff of conducting a permanent campaign by prioritizing presidential public opinion ratings over good governance. However, researchers have not previously measured whether this campaign is conducted exclusively from the White House, or if government agencies are also involved-dramatically increasing the potential scale and scope of the campaign.The researcher conducted a rare set of interviews with public affairs officers who worked for the Treasury Department during the administrations of Presidents Obama and George W. Bush to find out whether they utilize public opinion ratings in their work and whether they attempt to play to the emotions, rather than the reason, of the American people.This study finds that the Treasury is not conducting a permanent campaign.The results demonstrate that the campaign is not practiced in a cabinet agency critical to presidential political fortunes and reelection prospects, suggesting that it is likely confined to the White House.
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2023 scite Inc. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers