Based on content analysis of global media and interviews with many diplomats and journalists, this paper describes the trajectory of the media from objective observer to fiery advocate, becoming in fact a weapon of modern warfare. The paper also shows how an open society, Israel, is victimized by its own openness and how a closed sect, Hezbollah, can retain almost total control of the daily message of journalism and propaganda.
The last decade has seen tremendous change in the commercial news media that play a central role in political processes in democracies around the world, as well as considerable progress in cross-national comparative media research. But despite the impact of Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini’s book Comparing Media Systems, empirical research into the institutional and systemic preconditions of journalism and news production has not kept pace with the rapid changes in the media, nor with the advances made in other areas of comparative media research (such as studies of news media use, journalists’ role-conceptions, and of news content). In this piece, we call for further institutionally and system-oriented mixed-methods comparative research to advance our understanding of how current changes are impacting journalism, the news media, and ultimately politics in different settings. We suggest that existing conceptions of media systems as ideal types need to be supplemented with more empirically grounded and systematically comparative understanding of media systems as dynamic, evolving real types to capture how journalism is changing today.
Our study examines the phenomenon of personalization in news coverage of candidates for the leadership of Canadian national political parties. Because the politicization of the personal through newspaper coverage of bodies and intimate lives has different meanings for women and men politicians, we argue that it is important to account for gender differences in levels of personalization. Our analysis of the Globe and Mail newspaper reporting of thirteen party leadership races held between 1975 and 2012 includes eleven competitive women candidates, four of whom won the leadership contest. Conducting a content analysis of 2,463 newspaper articles published over the course of this thirty-seven-year period facilitates comparison of the levels of personalized coverage over time, by leadership contest, and by candidate gender and success. Findings reveal that the amount of personal coverage did not increase over time, as the personalization literature hypothesizes. However, reporting was significantly more likely to “make it personal” for women candidates, as suggested by the literature on media coverage of women politicians. We argue that gendered mediation is largely driving the personalization of political reporting in the Canadian national context
The article provides a detailed analysis of previously unresearched campaign management seminars for European Center-Right political parties within the European Democrat Union (EDU) in the 1980s. Original archival material shows how these seminars in several ways facilitated the spread of campaign techniques originating in the United States: (1) through the collective discussion and adaptation of U.S. innovations to a European context and (2) as a catalyst for bilateral relationships between otherwise unlikely partners. Members from small countries gained access to global leaders of campaign development in the shape of operatives from the U.K. Conservative Party, the German CDU, and the U.S. Republican Party. The campaign seminar group depended on the will of EDU members from these powerful countries to build and maintain a transnational organization within the frameworks of the cold war and European integration. In conclusion, the article argues that mediating instances such as the campaign seminars should be integrated in explanatory concepts such as “modernization” and “Americanization,” as should historical context.
Pew Research Center polls in 1989, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002 show that Americans pay more attention to media accounts of nonpolitical stories than those about national, international, and local politics. Although Americans’ attentiveness to political news rose between 2000 and 2002, attention to media accounts of politics remained below where it had been in 1989. For the most part, the relative rankings of attentiveness to different kinds of news stories remained the same. The authors also explore the factors that predict attention to political news.Finally,heed paid to media stories about politics appears to affect two important facets of democratic citizenship: political knowledge and participation.
The concept of gendered mediation represents a new phase in the study of women, politics, and the media. It focuses on the stereotypically masculine narrative used in political reporting. Metaphors of warfare and confrontation dominate media coverage of politics, reinforcing traditional conceptions of politics as a male preserve. In this article, we examine the implications of this narrative for the coverage of female leaders. We argue that women who adopt “masculine” styles in order to compete are portrayed by the media as being more aggressive than their male counterparts because they are contravening deeply rooted conventions concerning appropriate female behavior. By comparing metaphoric reconstructions of the 1993 Canadian leaders' debates with the actual behavior of the participants, we show that television news coverage of the two female leaders focused disproportionately on the behavior that was counter to gender-based stereotypes. Ironically, even when the women adopted a less confrontational approach, they were still portrayed as being more aggressive than the male participants. The result of this gendered mediation, we conclude, was to misrepresent the behavior of both of the female leaders.
Will cyberspace bring new forms of participatory democracy as computer-mediated communication reduces organizational costs? The Internet has the potential to change the nature of American electoral politics, but we doubt that it will. The character and popularity of cyberspace are more likely to foster an on-line electoral environment that replicates the real world, albeit in a slick electronic form. Notwithstanding the novelty and explosive growth of campaigning on the Internet, we foresee the Internet in general, and the World Wide Web in particular, as more likely to reinforce the existing structure of American politics than to change it.
Beginning in 1992, news organizations adopted a more assertive posture in covering presidential elections in order to raise the level of campaign discourse. This article assesses the impact of this change in professional norms by comparing network television news coverage of the 1996 Republican presidential primaries with the speeches and paid advertisements of the candidates. A content analysis is applied to both the media and candidate messages with regard to such characteristics as the topics and issues that were addressed, the context in which policy issues were framed, and the evaluative tone of the campaign debate. We conclude that rather than raising the tone of public discourse, the media coverage contributed to the negativism and lack of substance for which the campaign was criticized. These findings raise questions about the effectiveness of reporting practices that were intended to benefit voters by assigning the media a more active role in the campaign process.
Several comparative media researchers have hypothesized that the media systems of affluent Western democracies are becoming more and more structurally homogeneous—that they are becoming “Americanized.” This article uses data on newspaper industry revenues, commercial television revenues, Internet use, and funding for public service media from a strategic sample of six countries to test the structural version of the convergence hypothesis, looking at the period from 2000 to 2009. (The countries included are Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.) The analysis demonstrates an “absence of Americanization” as the six media systems have not become structurally more similar over the last decade. Instead, developments are summarized as a combination of (1) parallel displacements, (2) persistent particularities, and (3) the emergence of some new peculiarities. Theoretically, economic and technological forces were expected to drive convergence. The article suggests that the reason these forces have not driven convergence in recent years may be that the interplay between them have changed as part of a broader shift from the mass media, mass production, and mass markets characteristic of twentieth-century Western societies and toward the fragmented media landscapes, tailored production, and niche marketing increasingly characteristic of early-twenty-first century affluent democracies.
There were significant differences in media reporting in the United States and Germany in the seven months prior to the war in Iraq. This article focuses on the coverage of United Nations weapons inspections in two print and two television media from the two countries. The main finding of this article is that, while media reporting in Germany and in the United States differed qualitatively, policy certainty and effective government framing of their respective but divergent policies on Iraq were critical factors. Both the Bush and the Schroeder governments were able to build on a predominant national consensus. The absence of critical reporting in both countries allowed the respective governments to dominate the foreign policy agenda. This led, in the United States, to support for the war and in Germany, to abstention from it. The American media in particular neglected their watchdog function.
To what extent are established democracies and new democracies moving closer together in terms of the impact of media messages in electoral campagins? Drawing on our content analysis of main evening television news on flagship programs over two months during the Polish National Election Study’s two-wave panel study (N=1,200) spanning parliamentary and presidential elections in September and October 2005, we identify the impact of media use on political knowledge, political participation, and political learning. We demonstrate the positive effect of media use on political knowledge, participation in a variety of campaign activities other than voting, and on the stabilization of issue positions. Our findings support those from recent elections in established democracies. Our study suggests that in the context of more highly volatile electorates in the new democracies of East-Central Europe, campaign information in the news media plays a critical role in campaigns and electoral outcomes.
The 2006 presidential election in Ecuador offers an important example of how traditional, modern, and even postmodern modes of electioneering are combined in contemporary campaigns in Latin America. In his successful race against billionaire candidate Alvaro Noboa, Rafael Correa crafted a hybrid campaign in a double sense. First, he blended the country's classic populist discourse with forward-looking appeals for change. Second, Correa's organization deftly combined state-of-the-art publicity and the application of new information technology with traditional grassroots organizing and the spectacle of rallies. Ecuador's presidential election illustrates the extent to which Latin America has advanced along Pippa Norris's historical continuum of campaign practices. It also provides further evidence of the tenacious appeal of populism in Latin America and how modern and postmodern forms of campaigning can be brought to bear in reproducing populist-style politicking and a hybrid political culture.
The article discusses the negative consequences of globalization in the new international arena that arose following the Great Recession of 2008 that enabled emerging economies such as China, Russia, and Angola to take center stage, reconfiguring power relations between Western and non-Western countries. As new global flows of capital in media industries have been emerging, it is relevant to consider how investors from autocratic political regimes with illiberal views on the media articulate with Western culture’s founding prerogatives of media and journalism. To do this, we singled out the Angola–Portugal relationship. Results show that the clientelistic dynamics in Portugal’s media system, enhanced by the economic crisis, facilitate the entrance of the Angolan capital, which, in turn, may perpetuate clientelism and drive the reversal of media democracy in the country.
In the months leading up to the 2010 British General Election, pundits were claiming that women would be specifically targeted by all political parties. However, this focus never materialized and it was just more business as usual but with the added novelty of televised leaders’ debates, which meant that coverage was more male ordered than ever. The study on which this article is based monitored articles published in the four weeks leading up to election day across twelve newspapers, comprising a mix of dailies and weekend editions, broadsheets and midmarket, and tabloid titles. The study concentrated on articles that had the election as the main story and which mentioned or sourced one or more candidates, both MPs seeking reelection, and Parliamentary Candidates. We were interested in exploring (any) differences in the news coverage of women and men candidates, looking at both frequency and content. Our findings suggest that women were much less likely to feature in news stories than men, even when controlling for Party Leader coverage. Women were much more likely to be mentioned or quoted in feature articles focused explicitly on gender issues, made interesting because of their sex and couture rather than their political abilities and experience.
In this article, the intricate relationship between the logic of damage as an act of political communication and its mediation is addressed. The mediation of protest by mainstream media is often deemed to be one-sided, biased in favor of the establishment and predominantly antiprotest, focusing on the spectacular crowding out real debate on the issues. A content analysis of the 2010 U.K. student protests as reported by four U.K. newspapers found this to be only partially true. The use of symbolic damage tactics by the protesters did not squeeze out attention for the issues, rather it increased media attention and coverage considerably. Militant voices were more quoted and given more space in articles than moderate voices. In all newspapers there was a degree of understanding for the anger of the students, but the use of symbolic damage tactics did produce much negative exposure. The use of symbolic damage tactics not only relates to a mainstream media opportunity structure, creating spectacle and drama, but also potentially produces division, negative representation, and delegitimization. Finally, the use of insurrectionary symbolic damage is a reminder of the failings of representative democracy in how it deals with political conflicts.
The framing of elections represents the most overt instance of the media’s power to influence politics. We content analyzed twelve newspapers’ coverage of the 2011 general election in Ireland. Ireland’s newspaper market has some special advantages for social scientists, as it allows us to separate the newspaper types/formats (tabloid vs. broadsheet) from their commercial basis (vulnerability or otherwise to short-term sales and profits). Therefore, we are able to make a particular contribution to the long-standing debate about the interaction of free market capitalism and the media. Our results do not find a homogeneous general election frame in Ireland. The variation in framing across Irish newspapers was much greater than that between the five countries for which we can find strictly comparable results. The different commercial statuses of the newspapers do seem to be related to different dominant frames of election coverage, but only after we develop a new measure that takes account of the relative overall prominence of election coverage in the newspapers examined.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, during the peak of the cold war, communist journalists had a significant presence in Brazilian conservative papers. They even held high-ranking positions. Newspaper owners were aware of their political orientations, but they did not seem concerned. In fact, some of those communist journalists enjoyed high professional prestige. An unusual symbiotic relationship has developed between conservative publishers and their communist employees. This article discusses such relationship in light of the modernization of Brazilian newspapers that started in the 1950s. To modernize their newspapers, publishers needed to rely on journalists' ability to deal with the news as a technical, industrial product. Journalists with communist sympathies provided skilled work and were willing to be loyal and disciplined in the newsrooms. They had their own reasons for working in the “big press.” The American rhetoric of professional journalism provided a common language for communist journalists and conservative publishers to work together. The Brazilian case has important lessons for analyzing the adaptation of the American model of professional journalism in different national settings.
This study examines how power relations between journalism and political actors vary across the news production process. Applying a process approach, it addresses this issue by exploring journalists’ enactment of the watchdog role in two key moments of news production: the interactional phase and the news-construction phase. The study is conducted in the context of press conferences with the Swedish Government and involves data from question-and-answer sessions and published news content that was initiated by such press conferences. With a low or moderate extent of journalistic aggressiveness in the interactional phase, the results indicate that this moment is characterized by cooperativeness and can be described in accordance with an exchange model. By contrast, the analysis of the published news content demonstrates a high extent of criticism and is in line with an adversary model. Altogether, the findings contribute new evidence to suggest that the power relations between journalists and political actors vary across the moments of news production, and that journalistic autonomy increases in the later phases of the process. The differences in the extent of watchdog-role performance are discussed in terms of a strategic ritual by which news journalism promotes a favorable image of itself as a public watchdog institution.
This study used an experiment to examine whether—and if so, how—national interest frames in media coverage influence public opinion about world affairs. Compared to participants in a control condition, those who read a news article framing China as a competitor to the United States held less favorable opinions regarding China. In contrast, participants who read an article about common Chinese and American interests held particularly favorable opinions regarding China. Compared to baseline participants, those who read about common Russian and American interests held more favorable opinions regarding Russia—as did participants who read about the possibility for mutually beneficial exchange between the United States and Russia. Taken as a whole, the findings suggest that national interest frames in media coverage resonate with ordinary citizens.
This article addresses the formulaic dependence of the news media on images of people facing impending death. Considering one example of this depiction—U.S. journalism’s photographic coverage of the killing of the Taliban by the Northern Alliance during the war on Afghanistan, the article traces its strategic appearance and recycling across the U.S. news media and shows how the beatings and deaths of the Taliban were depicted in ways that fell short of journalism’s proclaimed objective of fully documenting the events of the war. The article argues that in so doing, U.S. journalism failed to raise certain questions about the nature of the alliance between the United States and its allies on Afghanistan’s northern front.
According to previous studies, African-American political leaders are often cast by the media as being both narrowly focused on matters of race and less influential than their white counterparts in the legislative process. This article explores the degree to which the press offices of African-American members of Congress perceive this to be the case and the degree to which African-American representatives contribute to this pattern of coverage. Interviews with congressional press secretaries reveal that they do find the media to be less fair in their treatment of African-American members and that they do believe African-American members are subject to pervasive stereotyping. Contrary to the media's depiction, however, the press secretaries, as well as an analysis of congressional Web sites, reveal that African-American members portray themselves and seek to be portrayed as having diverse interests and significant influence in Washington. Thus it appears that the media, rather than the members, are primarily responsible for the stereotyped coverage of African-Americans in Congress.
During the Spanish transition to democracy, media liberalization mostly affected newspapers and magazines. As for news agencies, the official Efe, founded in 1939, was favored by both dictatorial and democratic governments, which considered it as a strategic instrument to support dictatorship or foster democracy depending on the historical context. Europa Press, a private news agency founded in 1957, became its main competitor and earned high reputation by taking advantage of the news stories that Efe did not dare to cover because of its political ties. The Minister of Information attempted to close down the agency but he finally was dismissed due to internal political struggles. The situation, however, did not change either during the transition to democracy (1975–82) or the first Socialist government (1982–86). In both periods, the ruling parties boosted Efe through different means and sought the economic suffocation of Europa Press. Based on documents from the archive of Antonio Herrero, director of Europa Press between 1964 and 1989, this article analyzes the most significant episodes of government pressures on this agency and the arguments used to justify them. Conclusions on the relationship between news agencies and the State in processes of transition to democracy are also reached.
This study explores the relationship between attribute agenda setting and public opinion of political candidates. Specifically, media salience of presidential candidate attributes across five national elections is compared to public opinion data measuring perceived candidate salience and the strength of public attitudes regarding candidates. Findings suggest that media salience of attributes is strongly linked with strengthened attitudes and is moderately linked with perceived candidate salience. The implications of the findings are also discussed.
In recent years, profound media environmental changes have sparked a controversy regarding whether we are entering a new era of minimal effects. Focusing on one of the most important media effect theories, agenda setting, this study combines a panel survey and a media content analysis to test three claims derived from the new era of minimal effects discussion: (1) that recent media environmental changes have reduced the agenda setting influence of traditional news media to non-significance, (2) that increased opportunities for media choice have made partisan selective exposure the key mechanism behind media effects, and (3) that the availability of alternative online news sources reduces susceptibility to agenda setting effects from the traditional news media. Among other things, the results show that traditional news media still exert agenda-setting influence on both the aggregate and individual levels, but that these effects are weakened by use of multiple online news media. Overall, the results suggest that a generalized “we” have not (yet) entered a new era of minimal effects, and that certain media system characteristics are likely to condition the pace of any potential transition to a new minimal effects era.
In the mid-1990s, a transnational civil society campaign emerged to challenge Big Pharma over HIV/AIDS medicines patent protection. In 2001, the dispute crystallized into a dramatic media event as pharmaceutical companies sued the South African government over medicine patent laws. The South African lawsuit has been described as a “public relations disaster” for Big Pharma, and a turning point in HIV/AIDS medicines and intellectual property rights discourse. This article assesses these claims in relation to a corpus-assisted discourse analysis of 1,000 articles from U.S., U.K., and South African press outlets from 1997 to 2003. The study finds that a key discourse change to occur over this period was the elevation of generic HIV/AIDS medicines from an excluded criminal threat to a respected legitimate option. Given subsequent policy developments considerably increasing access to generic HIV/AIDS medicines in majority world countries, this article argues that the news media discourse change was a key transformative moment in addressing the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. The study also notes, however, that an antigeneric discourse persisted throughout the coverage, signifying the ongoing contestation of medicine patent protection that continues to characterize global HIV/AIDS medicines access.