The International Journal of Press/Politics

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 1940-1612
Publications
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
This article looks at how political reporting has changed over time in the Bild, Germany's most widely read newspaper. The authors content analyzed the political coverage during the seven weeks prior to the federal elections in 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002. They found increasing emphasis on the campaign in the news from one election to the next, which can be explained by the fact that the elections themselves became more competitive and thus had more news value. They also find increasing negativity toward the two main parties between 1990 and 1998 and toward the SPD (Social Democratic Party) since 1998. The Bild's editorial decision to include more commentary pieces in 2002 is at least in part responsible for the strongly negative coverage of the SPD and the chancellor in that election, but the greater negativity was also due to the increased volume of other political news stories that also contained negative evaluations.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Women Candidates and Electoral Success (%) 2001 2005 2010 Candidates % MPs % Candidates % MPs % Candidates % MPs %
Main Topic of Article by Mentions of Women Candidates, Male Candidates, and Both Sexes Articles Mentioning:
Sex of Person Quoted by Person/Party and/or Status Sex of Person Quoted
Sex of Journalist/Author by Newspaper Title Sex of Journalists/Author
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Media and Public Agendas during the Election Campaign (Percentages and Mean Values). 
Effects of Issue Exposure on Perceived Issue Importance (OLS, Panel Survey A). 
The marginal effect of issue exposure on perceived issue importance for different levels of online news sources usage.
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Number of "AIDS drugs" articles per news outlet, 1997-2003.
Number of " AIDS drugs " news articles across all news outlets, 2001.  
Top ten collocations for key search terms " AIDS Drugs " 1997–2003.  
Article
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.
 
Article
In Romania, the political system, itself an amalgam of systems and still shifting in line with a continually evolving democracy, is only the vessel in which corruption is percolating and not the cause of it; culture is the cause. This is true of the very nature of how instrumentalization, clientelism, and political parallelism have evolved. Romanian clientelism and the political parallelism are often an expression of the powers of the manager-journalist or star journalists and not only of media owners and politicians. This may set the Romania mass media system apart from other systems.
 
Article
.The goal of this article is to place the role of the social media in collective action within a more general theoretical structure using the events of the Arab Spring as a case study. Three theoretical principles are put forth all of which center around the idea that one cannot understand the role of any media in a political conflict without first considering the political context in which they are operating. The first principle states that: “Political variables are likely to be more important in explaining the extensiveness of a popular uprising than the overall penetration of the social media in a particular country”. The second principle is referred to as the “principle of cumulative inequality”. It states that: “Citizens who most need the media are the ones who find it the most difficult to exploit them.” The third and final theoretical principle states that: “A significant increase in the use of the new media is much more likely to follow a significant amount of protest activity than to precede it.” The three principles are examined using political, media, and protest data from 22 Arab Countries. The findings provide strong support for the validity of the claims.
 
Article
Tensions between the United States and Japan over bilateral trade began increasing in the late 1970s, turning sharply negative in the early 1990s before relaxing. This article explores the influences on Americans’ perceptions of Japan during this period. Using agenda-setting and issue-framing theories, we find that concerns over certain aspects of U.S.-Japan relations prompted negative perceptions of Japan.
 
Article
This article argues that despite the recent increase in the number of publications about Arab news media, little has been revealed about Arab journalism as a professional and social field.This article suggests the incorporation of Bourdieu's notion of “cultural intermediaries” and Zelizer's view of journalists as an “interpretive community” to re-conceptualize the role of Arab journalists, particularly in pan-Arab media. The article also provides a critical review of recent studies on Arab journalists, showing their shortcomings and their tendency to sidestep the analysis of power distribution among journalists. It provides examples of the themes that may guide this new research confining the discussion to pan-Arab media, particularly news satellite channels. It argues for seeing Arab journalists as an interpretive community, examining the way these journalists perceive their “professional identity” and how they define the power they share in their community of practitioners.
 
The Distribution of the Material on Which This Article Is Based. 
There has been a huge reaction online at the display of people power. Source: AJE Newshour, January 15, 2011, 7:00 p.m. (Central European Time).  
Article
When political unrest spread from Tunisia to neighboring countries early in 2011, established global broadcasters were quick to provide commentary on the part played by social media in mobilizing dissent, exploiting the same technology in their own reporting of the protests as they did so. In this article, the relation of “old” to “new” media is explored in a comparison of televised coverage of the Arab Spring in Al Jazeera English, Russia Today, CNN International, and British Broadcasting Corporation World (BBCW) News. Building on notions of mediapolis and connectivity and mediatized crisis, it seeks to map the shared communicative space opened up by global broadcasters, and how established media actors are adapting to new media ecologies. The empirical analysis shows that social media do not play the prominent role in global television discourse one might expect, and that their prominence and deployment vary from one channel to the other.
 
Article
This article presents a comparative analysis of the changing patterns of media ownership in ten new EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and discusses the implications of these processes for media freedom and autonomy. Briefly outlining the history of internationalization of CEE media markets, it argues that the presence of Western-based multinational companies on the CEE media markets has been recently diminishing rather than further growing. In addition, a different type of actor has been gaining prominence on the CEE media map, unspotted or largely overlooked in most previous analyses, namely, local business elites acquiring stakes in news media. Combining secondary sources and field interviews with media experts and practitioners, this study explores the various practices of business and political instrumentalization of media by their local owners, often resulting in a constrained editorial independence and increasing intertwinement of the systems of media, politics, and economy in the region.
 
Article
This article presents a comparative study of investigative journalism in nine countries in the Central and Eastern European region (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia). The purpose is descriptive and analytical. Descriptively, the article charts the presence and provision of investigative journalism across the region and inventories and assesses the various funding forms that exist against the background of the recent (2008–2009) financial crisis. Analytically, the article focuses on assessing the relative autonomy (defined as autonomy from external actors) and effects (defined as the removal from office and sentencing of political actors revealed to be engaged in legal and moral transgressions, commonly various forms of corruption). The article finds investigative journalism across the region in general to be weak in terms of autonomy and effects, but stronger in countries that have had more stable and richer media markets (notably Estonia, Poland, and the Czech Republic). The article further finds that in some countries (notably Romania and Bulgaria), alternative news online sources play an increasingly important role as providers of investigative journalism.
 
Article
In 2006, the international community started to finalize the political status of Kosovo, the Serbian province, inhabited mostly by the Muslim Albanian majority. At the end of October 2006, a referendum was held in Serbia, where a new constitution was passed that claims Kosovo as an integral part of Serbia. What has taken place in the so-called “last media battle for Kosovo”? This article investigates discourses of the two most popular Serbian newspapers and their coverage of the October 2006 events. The analysis of recontextualization shows that the newspapers continuously reproduce the dominant Serbian nationalism that focuses on a myth of a Greater Serbia. With an appropriation of different discourses, the dominant Serbian nationalism becomes legitimized and justified. In particular, the newspapers reproduce distinctive religious discourses from the political past, and furthermore, they borrow so-called European, “war on terrorism” and “crime” discourses from the international mainstream public spheres and appropriate them to the contemporary Serbian political context. Generally, the newspapers reappropriate different discourses by framing the Serbs as the victims of their own local “perpetrators,” the Kosovo Albanians.
 
Variations in quantity (distribution by candidate gender, channel of communication, and media format).  
Valence of pictures and picture size (distribution per candidate). Note: Values are percentage of total number of articles per candidate, including the articles without photographs . Small and very small were combined for the analysis.  
Distribution by Media Outlet.
Variations in Quality (Distribution by Candidate).
Traits Coverage (Distribution Per Candidate).
Article
This study discusses variations in the media coverage of the most prominent male and female EP candidates from Romania in the four weeks leading up to Election Day (May 8 to June 7, 2009). The verbal- and visual-framing analyses conducted focus on the visibility of these candidates, their viability (horse-race frame), and the balance between issue-related coverage (issue frame) and gendered coverage (trivialization frame). Our sample encompasses 249 news stories from the web sites of the most influential broadsheets and tabloids in Romania, namely, Cancan, Evenimentul Zilei, Gândul, and Libertatea. The results point toward a gender bias on the part of media. Whereas women dominated the tabloid outlets, men were featured prominently in the broadsheets. The trivialization and the issue frames appeared more often for female candidates, whereas the results for the horse-race frame were mixed. While factors other than gender (such as experience) might have influenced the coverage of these particular candidates, it is still too early to proclaim equal treatment in the media, especially since women were considered unable to deal with the issues they were linked to.
 
Article
In the early 1970s, reporters in Washington started getting bigger salaries, better reputations, and bigger egos. This prospect bothered one critic, Richard Nixon. Nixon was a longtime student of the press, radio, and television. He disliked them all. Saying he wished to “discredit” them, he sought to change their name. He succeeded because reporters, in their rise to social prominence, did not pay attention to the deterioration of the most important journalistic tool of all, the English language. George Orwell, the British writer who wrote Animal Farm and 1984, laid down rules for clear writing that influenced many writers. His essay,“Politics and the English Language,” was recommended reading in newspaper city rooms. The glare of television, which influenced news-gathering habits in the 1960s and 1970s, distracted some reporters from the vigilance required against what Orwell warned about. In most political writing, Orwell wrote, the corruption of thought and the corruption of language were evident in “dying metaphors” and “pretentious diction.” Some in the press fell victim to both. Others were beguiled by the theories of Marshall McLuhan. Together, these trends helped Nixon change “the press” into “the media” and helped make “media” a singular noun.
 
Article
Support is surfacing in the popular media, and in some cases the scholarly press, for allegations that the media's perspective is tinted by partisanship and negativity. Despite great attention to these matters, analyses subjecting these claims to objective testing, using meaningful baselines with which to compare coverage, have been lacking. By studying coverage of unemployment, an issue for which outcomes are known and quantified, this research offers comparisons of coverage when presidents of both parties have produced the same results and when the unemployment rate has fallen or risen by a comparable margin. The results, utilizing a fair baseline from which to evaluate media coverage, provide no evidence of any meaningful partisan bias while offering strong evidence that the media cover bad outcomes far more than good.
 
Sound bites: Average length of candidates' on-air statements on leading news programs in the last four weeks of campaign Cross-national
Verbal and visual presence of candidates and journalists in average election story
Content of candidate sound bites in average election story (in percentages)
Scripted versus unscripted campaign appearances by national candidates, as observed from media reports (in percentages)
Article
This study offers the first systematic analysis of sound bites and image bites across countries and across time. It goes beyond traditional sound bite research by extending the scope of analysis also to visuals and by analyzing both sound and image bites not only with regard to their length but also with regard to their content and editorial packaging. Based on these findings, contours of three different political news cultures emerge: a strongly interventionist U.S. American approach, a moderately interventionist Anglo-German approach, and a noninterventionist French approach. Adopting an explicitly cross-national comparative perspective, the study introduces a theoretical model that explains sound bite news in divergent media systems and links it to the concept of media culture. It derives seven hypotheses from the model and tests them on three levels of analysis—organizational, national, and transnational. Despite a growing transnational convergence, multivariate data analysis shows evidence of the enduring importance that national parameters continue to exert. Conclusions for comparative political communication research are drawn.
 
Article
Crime is central to the public debate about the state of American society. Citizens consistently express great concern about the issue and are increasingly calling for punitive policies, such as “three strikes” and the death penalty. In response, politicians and policymakers have allocated larger and larger shares of their budgets to crime control. This is ironic given that the population-adjusted crime rate has declined in recent years. This article addresses the paradox by focusing on the role of television news. A content analysis of local television news in a major media market demonstrates that coverage of crime features two important cues: Crime is violent, and criminals are nonwhite. We translate these media biases into an experimental design that manipulates the level of violence and the race of the perpetrator to test the relevance of these cues to public thinking about crime. The results indicate that race works independently and in conjunction with racial stereotypes to influence people's concern about crime and their willingness to attribute criminal behavior to breakdowns in the African-American community. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for race relations, the practice of journalism, and public policy.
 
Article
After the demise of communist rule the relationship between media and politics in Eastern European countries has to adjust to the conditions of democratic politics and a competitive communication environment. This study explores how journalists and politicians understand their relationship past and present and what orientations govern their day-to-day interactions. The political communication cultures in Bulgaria and Poland are investigated on the basis of semi-structured interviews with journalists and politicians. The findings suggest that in Bulgaria closed-knitted networks between the two sets of actors continue to shape political communication breeding ‘deals’ and even corruption that seriously undermine the independence of political journalism. In contrast, political communication roles in Poland appear more differentiated making it more difficult for political actors to exercise control over the public agenda.
 
Article
This article interprets the mediatization of television news generally and political news specifically in United Kingdom (U.K.) public and commercial evening bulletins. We argue that routine conventions (edited packages or two-ways) reflect different types of journalistic interventions, with the use of live, unscripted, and interpretive news practices representing a greater degree of mediatization, since they resemble the style and format of 24-hour media rather than fixed time bulletins. Our content analysis (N = 902) found more live news on commercial bulletins, but all broadcasters exhibited a degree of immediacy and interpretation in their editorial practices. This was most apparent in live two-ways—notably on Channel Five—which produced less source-driven political journalism than edited packages, with political editors playing the role of primary definer. The concept of mediatization, we suggest, can help interpret whether fixed time bulletins conform to their own media logic or adopt the values of 24/7 media.
 
Presence of issues by source. Note: AP = Associated Press. Figures in columns indicate number of stories containing relevant code.  
Presence of marginalization devices by source. Note: AP = Associated Press. Figures in columns indicate number of stories containing relevant code.  
Presence of Marginalization Devices by Source
Article
The emergence of a national “Tea Party” movement in the United States stimulated much media commentary regarding the movement’s origins, goals, participants, and even temperament. Unlike political movements of the recent past, the Tea Party stands starkly to the right. This study examines nightly cable news coverage of this movement by using key frames associated with the “protest paradigm”—the tendency for media to marginalize movements by drawing attention away from core concerns raised by such movements. We ask whether the protest paradigm can be applied to a right-wing movement and whether such application varies by the ideological leaning of a given source. That is, do cable news channels use frames in ways consistent with their respective ideological hues? We draw on a representative sample of stories regarding the national movement from the most viewed nightly news programs on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, with the Associated Press as a reference point. Results show significant differences across sources in issue and marginalization frame use. Although utilization of marginalization frames is popular among ideological channels, traditional news sources are not immune from using these devices.
 
Candidate visibility: Positive/negative headlines divided by total headlines.
Article tone differential by week: % positive articles toward Palin -% negative articles toward Palin.
Positive article tone and strengthens ticket by gendering of Palin's coverage.
Volume and Tone of Coverage-Palin versus Biden.
Predicting Attitudes Toward Palin Using Respondent Characteristics, Headline Visibility, and Gendering.
Article
The press had great potential to influence perceptions of Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign, given her relative obscurity when picked to be the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Prior literature on press treatment of women running for national office suggests that Palin was likely to receive coverage that disadvantaged her due to her gender. We scrutinize press coverage of Palin’s campaign for evidence that she was treated differently and that these differences affected public opinion. Our sample of over 2,500 individual newspaper articles published during the campaign is paired with the 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey. We demonstrate that Palin’s coverage differed in significant ways from that of her male counterpart. Her gender, appearance, and family status were disproportionately mentioned in her coverage, and such mentions tended to dampen public opinion about her. In addition, the tone of Palin’s coverage was markedly negative, increasingly so over time, and was significantly related to reader opinion about her. While Palin was a unique candidate for national-level office, these findings should give pause to those concerned with equitable press treatment of women on the campaign trail.
 
Article
It was previously perceived as a citizen’s responsibility to follow the news and to keep oneself informed about politics and current affairs. Recently, however, it appears as though a growing number of citizens ignore the information opportunities given to them. Changes in the media environment have given people cross-nationally more of a choice regarding the media diet they prefer. For the American case, Prior has demonstrated that in an era of cable TV and Internet, people more readily remove themselves from political knowledge and political action than previously. In this article, we study how the public’s consumption of news versus entertainment has developed over the last decade in countries with significantly different media systems. Is there a general increase in preference for entertainment across Europe, and has the gap between news- and entertainment-seekers increased such as documented by Prior for the U.S. case? Who are the European citizens who remove themselves from news and current affairs in the environment of increased choice? Based on data from five waves of the European Social Survey covering more than thirty European countries from 2002 to 2010, we demonstrate how national context or the media environment moderates the influence of individual-level factors in news consumption.
 
Article
In the wake of two catastrophic intelligence failures—9/11 and the yet-to-be-found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq—American intelligence is reeling. This article examines how the U.S. press fared in covering the intelligence community before and after those events. It also explores what the obstacles are that now face journalists and what the stakes are. At no time has covering the intelligence community been more demanding or more important. Ironically, the obstacles that face both reporters and intelligence officers are much the same. The article closes with some suggested strategies and approaches gleaned from the most successful intelligence reporting.
 
Article
This article argues that the traditional political science definition of clientelism is insufficient for explaining how the media fit in with clientelistic systems in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It is suggested that a broader understanding of clientelism, looking in particular at how media are used as elite-to-elite communication tools as well as elite-to-mass communication tools, better explains the place of the media in the clientelistic systems of the CEE nations. Empirically, it is based on a set of 272 elite and expert interviews conducted across ten CEE countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) in 2010 and 2011. The article presents some general findings on the nature and character of the linkages between political elites and the media, and the extent to which such linkages can be considered clientelistic. Then follows a discussion of specific practices of media instrumentalization, charting the many ways in which the media can function as a resource in conflicts and negotiations between clientelistic elite networks, directly as well as indirectly. Particular attention is given to the phenomena of advertorials and kompromat.
 
Article
The paper highlights the trends of political communications (PC) that have arisen in Hungary after the collapse of communist regime (1989). The authors have identified four main trends in the field of PC: fragmentation, the multiplication of PC channels and means, endless amount of PC arenas, Internet, Web 2.0, fragmentation of content, amateurism in PC; post-objectivity, the end of the requirement of unbiased and balanced coverage, more emphasis on the rise of opinion, on media as community focal point rather than window to the objective reality; the performative turn, the representation of self, a strong focus on act, dramaturgy, and aesthetics in PC; and popularization, the convergence of popular culture and politics, fan democracy, entertaining politics, involvement of citizens, etc.
 
Article
The Internet has become an important means by which members of Congress communicate with their constituents. Although a number of studies have examined the content and features of congressional Web sites,how members of Congress present themselves on the Web has yet to be addressed.A content analysis of the images displayed on the home pages of 100 senators and 244 House members who served in the 107th Congress reveals two distinct presentations: an "insider" style and an "outsider" style. The results vary, moreover, by chamber, seniority, gender, and race. Within each party, the most significant differences were by gender, with Democratic women the most likely to present themselves as outsiders and Republican women the most likely to present themselves as insiders.
 
Article
This study measures the relationship between media freedom and corruption, accounting for elements of vertical accountability (electoral competitiveness, civil society, and voter turnout) and horizontal accountability (judicial independence and political system). Results suggest a strong association between media freedom and corruption that runs from high levels of media freedom to low levels of corruption. This study also implies that media freedom might have a stronger indirect effect on corruption when coupled with powerful institutions of horizontal accountability. The data suggest that the association between media freedom and corruption is strongest in countries with parliamentary systems than in those with presidential systems, and that this impact amplifies as the judiciary independence increases.
 
Article
With each passing election, increased attention is paid to the “packaging” of politics—the use of advertising, media consultants, and “spin doctors” to sell parties and politicians. The general assumption is that such packaging diminishes the quality of modern democracy by promoting style over content. This article challenges that widely held view, arguing that we need to understand the pressures that lead to packaging and recognize the benefits that it can bring. The question of whether political packaging is in fact harmful rests upon an appreciation of the quality of the packaging, not the fact of it, and this acknowledges that politics is inevitably a part of popular culture. Ultimately, an understanding of political communication is predicated on an understanding of popular forms of communication generally.
 
Top-cited authors
Jesper Strömbäck
  • University of Gothenburg
Frank Esser
  • University of Zurich
Peter Van Aelst
  • University of Antwerp
Matthew C Nisbet
  • American University Washington D.C.
Toril Aalberg
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology