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Power and personality: politicians on the World Wide Web

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This article is a comparative analysis of the websites of four of the most powerful leaders in the world: two presidents (George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac) and two prime ministers (Angela Merkel and Tony Blair). The analysis focuses on the structure and content of the websites; the relation between textual elements, visual and other elements; the types of information given; the way it addresses users; and to what degree and in what forms interactive potentials for dialogue are constructed. The ways in which the relation between the official, political person, the representative of the nation and the more personal aspects of these politicians are constructed are key focus points seen in the more theoretical context of mediated politics and the mediation of the political personae in the present media-saturated society. The comparative analysis shows significant national differences in the way the political leaders are linked to national symbols and national cultural identity. The last part of the article discusses the empirical data on the rising importance of political websites for the general population.
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Keywords: Democracy; Interactivity; Internet; Political communication; Political websites

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Publication date: 2007-09-07

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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