By Pippa Norris
Is the method of political communications by means of the scoop media and by way of events accountable for civic malaise? A Virtuous Circle units out to problem the normal knowledge that it truly is. in accordance with a comparative exam of the position of the scoop media and events in postindustrial societies, this learn 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)
Previous studies exploring whether political coverage in the news media contributes towards civic malaise have generally employed trend analysis, experimental designs, or cross-sectional surveys, and each of those methods has certain advantages and disadvantages. A TREND ANALYSIS: DIFFUSE THEORIES OF MEDIA MALAISE One approach has been to compare trends in the content of news coverage with trends in public opinion. Popular accounts often assume 36 UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL COMMUNICATIONS a causal connection if negative news about government has grown in recent years along with public cynicism about political institutions.
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.
For analysis of the American case, Chapter 13 utilizes a half-century of National Election Surveys in the United States, running from 1948 to 1998. Because so much of the media malaise literature is American, we pay particular attention to examining both specific and diffuse effects there. At individual level, Chapter 13 establishes that, as in Europe, those Americans most exposed to the news media proved the most politically knowledgeable, active, and trusting. At diffuse level, the timing of long-term secular trends across a range of indicators of civic engagement since the early 1950s fails tofitwith media malaise 19 THE NEWS MEDIA AND CIVIC MALAISE accounts.