By Pippa Norris
Is the method of political communications through the inside track media and via events chargeable for civic malaise? A Virtuous Circle units out to problem the normal knowledge that it truly is. in response to a comparative exam of the position of the scoop media and events in postindustrial societies, this research argues that instead of mistakenly "blaming the messenger" we have to comprehend and confront extra deep-rooted flaws within the platforms of consultant democracy.
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Extra info for A Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Postindustrial Societies (Communication, Society and Politics)
If the public remain stubbornly unaware of the political facts of life and choose to stay home on election day, if civic debate about the major issues of the day degenerates into a dialogue of the deaf, incivility, and personal name-calling, and if abuses of public standards go unchecked, then often the news media are blamed. Before we can start to evaluate the empirical evidence, we need to consider the methodological approaches available to analyze these issues. 35 CHAPTER 3 Understanding Political Communications lthough there is an abundance of heated rhetoric and conjecture, and everyone who watches television seems to have a view about the issue, it has been surprisingly difficult to find systematic evidence that proves the media malaise hypothesis.
True, Chapter 9 demonstrates that a persistent pattern of critical coverage of the euro in the European news media was associated with a decline in public support for this policy issue. But that represented 'normal' politics, rather than a crisis of support for democracy per se. The survey evidence indicates that news exposure has not been associated with civic disengagement at diffuse level in America and Europe. Why should we find a positive link between civic engagement and attention to the news media?
In contrast, if, as some claim, there has been a decrease in the amount of political coverage because of trends such as the decline of public-service broadcasting or the rise of 'infotainment', then civic affairs may be impoverished. 26 EVALUATING MEDIA PERFORMANCE Yet the amount of political news tells us nothing about its quality. Pluralist theory emphasizes that as a civic forum the news-media system should reflect the political and cultural diversity within a society, providing a fair and impartial balance, so that all voices can be heard in political deliberations.