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A Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Postindustrial Societies

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List of tables List of figures Preface Part I. The News Media and Civic Malaise: 1. The news media and democracy 2. Evaluating media performance 3. Understanding political communications Part II. Trends in Political Communication: 4. The decline of newspapers? 5. The rise (and fall?) of the television age 6. The emerging internet era 7. The evolution of campaign communications 8. The rise of the post-modern campaign? Part III. The Impact on Democracy: 9. Negative news, negative public? 10. Knows little? Information and choice 11. Cares less? Cynical media, cynical public? 12. Stays home? Political mobilization 13. American exceptionalism? 14. A virtuous circle? Technical appendix Notes Select bibliography Author index Subject index.
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A Virtuous Circle?
The Impact of Political Communications in Post-Industrial Democracies (*)
Pippa Norris
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Pippa_Norris@Harvard.edu
www.Pippanorris.com
Paper for the Annual Meeting of the Political Studies Association of the UK, London
School of Economics and Political Science, 10-13th April 2000. Panel on Political
Communications II Monday 10th April 16.00-17.30.
Abstract
During the last decade a rising tide of
voices on both sides of the Atlantic has
blamed the news media for growing
public disengagement, ignorance of
civic affairs, and mistrust of government.
This idea has developed into something
of an unquestioned orthodoxy in the
popular literature in the United States. A
related viewpoint more common in
Europe regards the growth of
professional political marketing by
parties, including the mélange of spin,
packaging and pollsters, as also
contributing towards public cynicism.
But is the conventional wisdom correct?
This paper, based on a systematic
examination of the role of political
communications in post-industrial
societies, argues that the process of
political communications by the news
media and by parties is not responsible
for civic disengagement.
Part I summarizes the core assumptions
in different theories of media malaise.
Part II examines some of the key
structural trends in the news industry
that many believe are responsible for
media malaise. Part III examines
evidence for the impact of attention to
the news media on selected indicators
of civic engagement.
The conclusion develops the theory of a
virtuous circleto explain the pattern we
find. Rather than mistakenly blaming
the messenger, the study concludes
that we need to understand and confront
more deep-rooted flaws in systems of
representative government.
Recent years have seen growing
tensions between the ideals and the
perceived performance of democratic
institutions1. While there is no 'crisis of
democracy', many believe that all is not
well with the body politic. Concern in
the United States has focused on
widespread cynicism about political
institutions and leaders, fuelling fears
about civic disengagement and a half-
empty ballot box2. The common view is
that the American public turns off,
knows little, cares less and stays home.
Similar worries echo in Europe.
Commentators have noted a crisis of
legitimacy following the steady
expansion in the power and scope of the
European Union despite public
disengagement from critical policy
choices3. The growth of critical citizens
is open to many explanations, explored
in a previous study4.
One of the most popular accounts
attributes public disengagement to
political communications. The political
science literature on media malaiseor
videomalaiseoriginated in the 1960s,
developed in a series of scholarly
articles in the post-Watergate 1970s,
and rippled out to become the
conventional wisdom in the popular
culture of journalism and politics
following a flood of books in the 1990s.
The chorus of critics is loudest in the
United States but similar echoes can be
heard in Europe.
These accounts claim that common
practices by the news media and by
party campaigns hinder civic
engagement, meaning learning about
public affairs, trust in government, and
political activism5. Media malaise
theories share two core assumptions: (i)
that the process of political
communications has a significant impact
upon civic engagement; and, (ii) that this
impact is in a negative direction. The
core analytic model is outlined
schematically in Figure 1.
(Figure 1 about here)
There is nothing particularly novel about
these claims. Many critics expressed
concern about the effects of the popular
press on moral decline throughout the
nineteenth century as newspapers
became more widely available6. The
phenomenon of the yellow pressin the
1890s caused worry about its possible
dangers for public affairs. In the 1920s
and 1930s, the earliest theories of mass
propaganda were based on the
assumption that authoritarian regimes
could dupe and choreograph the public
by manipulating radio bulletins and
newsreels7.
Recent decades have seen multiple
crusades against the supposed
pernicious influence of the mass media,
whether directed against violence in
movies, the wastelandof television, the
impact on civic engagement of watching
TV entertainment, the dangers of
tobacco advertising, or the supposedly
pernicious effects of pop music8.
While hardly new, what is different today
is the widespread orthodoxy that has
developed around this theory. Let us
first outline the American and European
accounts of media malaise and then
consider some evidence surrounding
this thesis.
I. Theories of Media Malaise
American theories of media malaise
emerged in the political science
literature in the 1960s. Kurt and Gladys
Lang were the first to connect the rise of
network news with broader feelings of
disenchantment with American politics.
TV broadcasts, they argued, fuelled
public cynicism by over-emphasizing
political conflict and downplaying routine
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policymaking in DC. This process, they
suggested, had most impact on the
inadvertent audience, who encountered
politics because they happened to be
watching TV when the news was shown,
but who lacked much interest in, or prior
knowledge about, public affairs9. The
Langs proved an isolated voice at the
time, in large part because the
consensus in political communications
stressed the minimal effects of the mass
media on public opinion.
The idea gained currency in the mid-
1970s since it seemed to provide a
plausible reason for growing public
alienation in the post-Vietnam and post-
Watergate era. Michael Robinson first
popularized the term videomalaiseto
describe the link between reliance upon
American television journalism and
feelings of political cynicism, social
mistrust, and lack of political efficacy.
Greater exposure to television news, he
argued, with its high 'negativism',
conflictual frames, and anti-institutional
themes, generated political disaffection,
frustration, cynicism, self-doubt and
malaise.10 For Robinson this process
was most critical during election
campaigns, where viewers were turned
off, he argued, by TVs focus on the
horse-raceat the expense of issues,
analysis rather than factual information,
and excessive bad newsabout the
candidates11.
Many others echoed these claims over
the years12. According to Samuel
Huntington, in a widely influential report
for the Trilateral Commission, the news
media had eroded respect for
government authority in many post-
industrial societies, contributing towards
a widespread crisisof democracy
evident on the streets of Washington
DC, Paris and Tokyo13.
During the 1990s the trickle of
complaints about the news media
became a popular deluge. For Entman,
the free press falls far short of its ideals,
leaving too much of the American public
ignorant and disconnected from
politics14. For Neil Postman the major
networks, driven by their hemorrhage of
viewers to cable, have substituted
tabloid television for serious political
coverage15. For Roderick Hart, television
produces an illusion of political
participation, while encouraging
passivity, thereby seducing America16.
Neil Gabler argues that the political
process has been repackaged into show
business.17.
Larry Sabato warns of the dangers of
pack journalism producing a 'feeding
frenzy'18. For Thomas Patterson, the
press, in its role as election gatekeeper,
has become a 'miscast' institution, out of
order in the political system19. Cappella
and Jamieson stress that strategic news
frames of politics activate cynicism
about public policy20. Dautrich and
Hartley conclude that the news media
fail American voters21.
James Fallows is concerned that down-
market trends have produced the
relentless pursuit of sensational,
superficial, and populist22. All this
breathless flim-flam, Schudson argues,
comes at the expense of detailed and
informed debate about policy issues23.
Hachten complains that public affairs
journalism has been trivialized and
corrupted24. The role of public television
in the US, long under-funded as a poor
cousin, has been unable to compensate
for the relentless drive for ratings of
network and cable TV25.
The list of complaints go on and on and
on. The news media particularly TV
news - is blamed for a host of political
ills. Criticisms have moved well beyond
the halls of academe: many U.S.
journalists share the belief that
something is badly wrong with their
profession26 and the Committee of
Concerned Journalists, led by Tom
Rosensteil and Bill Kovach, has debated
potential reforms to the profession27.
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In Europe similar voices can be heard
although these accounts emphasize
structural developments in the news
industry and in party campaigning. Jay
Blumler suggests that a 'crisis of civic
communication' has afflicted Western
Europe28. Many fear that growing
competition from commercial channels
has undermined the quality and diversity
of public service television29. Dahlgren
argues that the displacement of public
service television by commercial
channels has impoverished the public
sphere30. During the 1980s, the public
sector experienced a massive program
of privatization throughout Western
Europe. During the same era, the
growth of alternative commercial
channels, breaking down the monopoly
of public service broadcasting,
undermined the rationale for subsidizing
television through state resources.
Schulz argues that in Germany the
decline of public service broadcasting
and the rise of commercial channels, the
latter emphasizing the more sensational
and negative aspects of political news,
may have increased public cynicism31.
Kaase fears that these developments
may produce audiences segmented
according to the amount of political
information to which they are exposed,
possibly reinforcing a knowledge gap32.
In the print sector, there is widespread
concern that increased competition for
readers has increased the pressure on
traditional standards of news, leading to
tabloidizationor infotainment. Yellow
journalismin the 1890s routinely
highlighted the moral peccadilloes and
sexual proclivities of the rich and
famous. Sensationalism, crime and
scandal in newspapers are hardly new,
providing a popular alternative to the
dull business of politics.33 But today
routine and daily front-page news about
government scandals appears greater
than in previous decades - whether
sleaze in Britain, Tagentopoli in Italy,
Recruit and Sagawa in Japan, or l'affaire
Lewinsky in America34. This coverage is
believed to corrode the forms of trust
underpinning social relations and
political authority). The process of
tabloidizationmay have gone further in
Europe than in the American or
Japanese press, with papers like The
Sun or Der Bild leading the pack, each
with many millions of readers. But
similar phenomenon are evident in the
chase for ratings in local TV news and
all talk, all the timecable news
magazines in the U.S.
Many hope that the Internet can escape
these problems, but others fear that this
media may reinforce political cynicism.
Owen and Davis conclude that the
Internet provides new sources of
information for the politically interested,
but given uneven levels of access there
are good grounds to be skeptical about
its transformative potential for
democratic participation35. Murdock and
Golding36 argue that the new medium
may merely reproduce, or even
exacerbate, existing social biases in
conventional political participation. Hill
and Hughes believe that the Internet
does not change people; it simply allows
them to do the same things in a different
way37. Moreover the pace of breaking
headlines on the net may in turn
undermine journalistic standards in the
old media, like the way The Drudge
Report on the web scooped Newsweek
in breaking the first Lewinsky story. The
net also provides a platform that may
exaggerate the voice of those well
outside mainstream democratic politics,
from white supremacy racists to bomb-
making terrorists.
A related stream of commentators
attributes the problems of political
communications primarily to the practice
of professional marketing. One of the
most striking developments in many
countries has been the declining
importance of the 'pre-modern'
campaign involving local party meetings,
door-to-door canvassing and direct
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voter-candidate contact. The rise of the
'modern' campaign is characterized by
the widespread adoption of the
techniques of political marketing38.
Strategic communications is part of the
'professionalization' of campaigning,
giving a greater role to technical experts
in public relations, news management,
advertising, speech-writing and market
research39.
The rise of political marketing has been
widely blamed for growing public
cynicism about political leaders and
institutions. The central concern is that
the techniques of 'spin', selling and
persuasion may have undermined the
credibility of political leaders40. If
everything in politics is designed for
popular appeal then it may become
harder to trust the messages or
messenger. Although lacking direct
evidence of public opinion, Bob Franklin
provides one of the clearest statements
of this thesis, decrying the 'packaging of
politics'41. Many others have expressed
concern about the 'Americanization' of
election campaigning, in Britain,
Germany and Scandinavia, and the
possible impact this may have had upon
public confidence in political parties42.
The use of negativeor attack
advertising by parties and candidates
has also raised anxieties that this
practice may demobilize the
electorate43.
Therefore, to summarize, American and
European accounts differ in the reasons
given for media malaise.
Structural perspectives emphasize
institutional developments common to
many post-industrial societies, such as
economic pressures moving the news
industry down-market, the erosion of
public service broadcasting, and the
emergence of a more fragmented, multi-
channel television environment.
Cultural accounts stress historical
events specific to journalism in the
United States, notably the growth of a
more adversarial news culture following
Vietnam and Watergate.
Campaign accounts focus on the growth
of political marketing with its attendant
coterie of spin-doctors, advertising
consultants and pollsters, reducing the
personal connections between citizens
and representatives.
Multiple interpretations therefore cluster
within this perspective. Irrespective of
these important differences, what all
these accounts share, by definition, is
the belief that public disenchantment
with the political process is due, at least
in part, to the process of political
communications.
Of course there are counterclaims in the
literature and the number of skeptics
questioning the evidence media malaise
has been growing in recent years.
Earlier studies by the author found that,
contrary to media malaise, although TV
watching was related to some signs of
apathy, attention to the news media was
associated with positive indicators of
civic engagement, in the United States
and Britain, as well as other countries44.
Kenneth Newton showed that reading a
broadsheet newspaper in Britain, and
watching a lot of television news, was
associated with greater political
knowledge, interest, and understanding
of politics45. Christina Holtz-Bacha
demonstrated similar patterns
associated with attention to the news
media in Germany46, while Curtice,
Schmitt-Beck and Schrott reported
similarly positive findings in a five-nation
study from elections in the early
1990s47. The most recent examination of
the American NES evidence, by
Stephen Earl Bennett and his
colleagues, found that trust in politics
and trust in the news media went hand-
in-hand, with no evidence that use of the
news media was related to political
cynicism48.
So far, however, counterclaims have
been published in scattered scholarly
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studies, and thereby drowned out by the
Greek chorus of popular lament for the
state of modern journalism.
Before we all jump on the media
malaise bandwagon, what is the solid
evidence supporting this thesis? Here
we can briefly outline two sources of
data that throw skeptical light on some
of the core claims, namely aggregate
indicators of the major structural trends
affecting the news medias political
coverage in the post-war era, and
survey evidence about the individual-
level impact of attention to the news
media on civic engagement.
Part II: Trends in the News Industry:
In examining the evidence for media
malaise we need to distinguish between
the production, contents and effects of
political communications (as shown in
Figure 1). While the production process
has undoubtedly been transformed
during the last fifty years, the impact of
this upon the contents has not been well
established, still less the influence upon
the general public.
(Figure 1 about here)
The news industry has certainly
changed in response to major
technological, socio-economic and
political developments in the post-war
era. Since the 1950s, the printed press
has seen greater concentration of
ownership and a reduction in the
number of available independent
outlets. At the same time, however,
many media malaise accounts fear that
newspaper sales have declined in
postindustrial societies and this is not
the case. As shown in Figure 2, in the
post-war era TV viewing surged but at
the same time newspaper sales across
OECD countries have remained stable.
During the 1980s public television,
which had enjoyed a state monopoly
throughout much of Western Europe,
faced increased competition from the
proliferation of new terrestrial, cable,
satellite, digital and broadband
television channels. Since the mid-
1990s, the explosion of the Internet has
challenged the predominance of
television, a pattern most advanced in
Scandinavia and North America.
(Figure 2 about here)
The net result of these developments is
greater fragmentation and diversification
of formats, levels and audiences in the
available news outlets. The available
comparative evidence suggests five
important trends, each with important
implications for structural claims of
media malaise.
First, overall news consumption is up.
During the last three decades the
proportion of Europeans reading a
newspaper everyday almost doubled,
and the proportion watching television
news everyday rose from one half in
1970 to almost three quarters in 1999
(see Table 1). Social trends, including
patterns of higher literacy, affluence,
and leisure, have probably contributed
towards these developments.
(Table 1 about here)
Second, the structure of the news
industry varies widely across OECD
states and TV has not necessarily
displaced newspapers as an important
source of news in many societies. We
often generalize based on the American
literature but compared with other post-
industrial societies, the U.S. proves
exceptionally low in consumption of
newspapers and TV news (see Figure 3
and Table 2). Other countries like
Sweden, Austria and Germany are far
heavier users of the press while there
are far higher users of both newspapers
and TV news in Finland, the
Netherlands, and to a lesser extent the
UK.
(Table 2 and Fig.3 about here)
Moreover news formats and outlets
have diversified. In the 1960s viewers
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normally got the news from the standard
flagship evening news programs and
current affairs programs. Today these
have been supplemented by 24-hour
rolling news, on-the-hour radio
headlines, TV magazines and talk
shows, as well as the panoply of online
news sources. Access to the Internet
has been exploding in many post-
industrial societies. By the late-1990s,
about a fifth of all Europeans, and half of
all Americans and Scandinavians, surf
online. Getting news is one of the most
popular uses of the Internet in the US
and Europe. As a result of all these
developments in the news environment
it has become easier to bump into the
news, almost accidentally, than ever
before.
In part as a result, recent decades have
broadened the social background of the
news audience, especially for the press.
Tables 3 and 4 show regression models
predicting the social background of
regular newspaper readers and TV
news viewers, using Eurobarometer
surveys in five countries in 1970 and
1999. The results of the standardized
coefficients show that readership has
widened in terms of education, gender
and class, with no shift in the age profile
of readers.
(Tables 3 and 4 about here)
Lastly, the new information environment
has greatly expanded the opportunities
to learn about public affairs in different
channels, programs, formats and levels.
Since the 1970s, the amount of news
and current affairs broadcast on public
service television in OECD countries
more than tripled (see Table 5). And of
course this does not count the
development of new commercial 24-
hour news services like Sky and CNN.
(Table 5 about here)
But have structural trends eroded
traditional standards of political
coverage? Many commentators have
expressed concern about a decline in
long-term 'hard' news, such as coverage
of international affairs, public policy
issues, and parliamentary debates. In its
place, many suggest, news has
'dumbed down' to become 'infotainment',
focusing on human-interest stories
about scandal, celebrities and sex.
'Tabloid' papers in Britain, the 'boulevard
press' in Germany, and local television
news in the US, share many common
characteristics.
Rather than an inexorable downwards
erosion in the standards of serious
journalism, it seems more accurate to
understand trends during the 1980s and
1990s as representing a diversification
of the marketplace in terms of levels,
formats and topics. Soft news and
infotainmenthas undoubtedly grown in
some sectors of the market, but serious
coverage of political events,
international affairs, and financial news
has also steadily expanded in
availability elsewhere. Endless Senate
debates shown on C-Span coexist today
with endless debates about sex and
personal relationships on the Jerry
Springer Show. The Sun sits on the
same newsstands as The Economist.
News.bbc.co.uk is as easily available as
Amsterdam pornography sites.
Diversification does not mean that the
whole of society is being progressively
dumbed downby trends in the news
media. By focusing only on excesses in
the popular end of the market, such as
the wasteland of endless punditry on
American cable TV talk shows or if it
bleeds it leadson local American TV
news, we overlook dramatic changes
such as the ability to watch live
legislative debates, to witness natural
disasters like Mozambique floods in real
time, or to find online information about
local government services. Potentially
diversification may lead to another
danger, namely greater divisions
between the information haves and
have-nots. But as we have seen the
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audience for news has greatly expanded
in size and broadened socially during
the last quarter-century, not narrowed.
The evidence for other assumed long-
term changes in the news culture
remains limited we need more
systematic data to establish whether, for
example, there actually has been a
growth in negative coverage of
politicians during election campaigns, or
whether a more adversarial relationship
has developed between journalists and
governments. The available studies,
however, strongly suggest that
developments in political coverage
observed in particular countries are
often highly particularistic and
contextual, rather than representing
trends common across post-industrial
societies49. For example, the most
comprehensive comparison of news
cultures in twenty-one countries, based
on surveys of journalists, found almost
no consensus about professional roles,
ethnical values and journalistic norms50.
Rather than the emergence of a single
prevalent model of journalism, based on
American norms, this suggests
considerable diversity worldwide.
In the same way, without being able to
discuss this in detail in this paper, there
is little doubt that political campaigns
have been transformed by the
diversification in the news industry and
also by the widespread adoption of
political marketing techniques. Countries
have not simply imported American
campaigning practices lock, stock and
barrel but politicians in states like Israel,
Argentina and Britain seem to be paying
more attention to formal feedback
mechanisms like polls and focus groups,
with an expanding role for campaign
professionals from marketing and public
relations. Comparative surveys have
found that in a shoppingmodel, parties
adopt whatever techniques seem well
suited for their particular environment,
supplementing but not discarding older
forms of electioneering51. Even in
America, traditional forms of grassroots
voter contact have been maintained, for
example in New Hampshire, alongside
newer forms of campaign
communications like web sites.
Rather than decrying the black arts of
spin doctors, the professionalization of
political communications can be
regarded as an extension of the
democratic process if these techniques
bind parties more closely with the
concerns of the electorate. The key
issue is less the increased deployment
of marketing techniques per se, which is
not in dispute, than their effects upon
politicians and voters, which is52.
III: The Impact on Civic Engagement
This brings us to the issue at the heart
of the debate: whether there is solid
evidence that changes in political
communications have contributed
towards civic disengagement. Theories
of media malaise argue that exposure to
the news media discourages learning
about politics, erodes trust in political
leaders and government institutions,
and dampens political mobilization. The
net result, it is argued by proponents,
has been a decline in active democratic
citizenship.
Extensive evidence cannot be
presented within the space of a brief
paper, but other work by the author
(Norris 2000) demonstrates that there is
extensive evidence from a battery of
surveys in Europe and the United
States, as well as experiments in Britain,
that cast strong doubt upon these
claims.
The results of the analysis show that,
contrary to the media malaise
hypothesis, use of the news media is
positively associated with a wide range
of indicators of political knowledge, trust,
and mobilization.
People who watch more TV news, read
more newspapers, surf the net, and pay
attention to campaigns, are consistently
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more knowledgeable, trusting of
government, and participatory.
This relationship remains significant
even after introducing a battery of
controls in multivariate regression
models. For example, Table 6 shows
the model predicting campaign activism
in the US, based on the 1998 NES. The
results confirm that attention to
newspapers, network TV news, and
campaign news on the Internet is
significantly associated with campaign
activism even after controlling for social
background. Similar positive
relationships are evident in Europe and
the US using multiple indicators of civic
knowledge and political trust (for full
details see Norris 2000).
(Table 6 about here)
Far from a case of American
exceptionalism, this pattern is found in
Europe and the United States.
Repeated tests using different datasets,
in different countries, across different
time-periods during the last half-century,
confirm this positive relationship, even
after controlling for factors that
characterize the news audience like
their education and prior political
interest.
The evidence strongly suggests that the
public is not simply passively
responding to political communications
being presented to them, in a naive
stimulus-responsemodel, instead they
are critically and actively sifting,
discarding and interpreting the available
information. A more educated and
literate public is capable of using the
more complex range of news sources
and party messages to find the
information they need to make practical
political choices. The survey evidence
shows that news exposure was not
associated with civic disengagement in
America and Europe.
IV: Conclusions: A Virtuous Circle?
Why should we find a positive link
between civic engagement and attention
to the news media? There are three
possible answers, which cannot be
resolved here.
One interpretation is selection effects. In
this explanation, those who are most
predisposed to participate politically (for
whatever reason) could well be more
interested in keeping up with current
affairs in the news, so the direction of
causation could be one-way, from prior
attitudes to use of the news media. This
view is consistent with the uses and
gratificationliterature, which suggests
that mass media habits reflect prior
predispositions in the audience: people
who love football turn to the sports
results, people who invest in Wall Street
check the business pages, and people
interested in politics read editorials
about government and public policy53.
But if we assume a purely one-way
selection effect, this implies that despite
repeatedly turning to the news about
public affairs, we learn nothing whatever
from the process, a proposition that
seems inherently implausible.
Another answer could be media effects.
In this explanation, the process of
watching or reading about public affairs
(for whatever reason) can be expected
to increase our interest in, and
knowledge about, government and
politics, thereby facilitating political
participation. The more we watch or
read, in this interpretation, the more we
learn. News habits can be caused by
many factors such as leisure patterns
and broadcasting schedules: people
may catch the news because it comes
on after a popular sit-com, or because
radio stations air headline news
between music clips, or because the
household subscribes to home delivery
of a newspaper. In this view, the
direction of causality would again be
one-way, but in this case running from
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prior news habits to our subsequent
political attitudes.
Both these views could logically make
sense of the associations we establish.
One or the other could be true. It is not
possible for us, any more than for
others, to resolve the direction of
causality from cross-sectional polls of
public opinion taken at one point in time.
But it seems more plausible and
convincing to assume a two way-
interactive process or a virtuous circle.
In the long-term through repeated
exposure, like the socialization process
in the family or workplace, there may
well be a virtuous circlewhere the
news media and party campaigns serve
to activate the active. Those most
interested and knowledgeable pay most
attention to political news. Learning
more about public affairs (the policy
stances of the candidates and parties,
the record of the government, the
severity of social and economic
problems facing the nation) reduces the
barriers to further civic engagement. In
this interpretation, the ratchet of
reinforcement thereby moves in a
direction that is healthy for democratic
participation.
In contrast, the news media has far less
power to reinforce the disengagement of
the disengaged, because, given the
easy availability of the multiple
alternatives now available, and minimal
political interest, when presented with
news about politics and current affairs
this group is habitually more likely to
turn over, turn off, or surf to another web
page. If the disengaged do catch the
news, they are likely to pay little
attention. And if they do pay attention,
they are more likely to mistrust media
sources of information. Repeatedly
tuning out political messages inoculates
against their potential impact. This
theory cannot be proved conclusively
from the available cross-sectional
survey evidence, any more than can
theories of media malaise, but it does
provide a plausible and coherent
interpretation of the different pieces of
the puzzle found in this study.
Claims of media malaise are
methodologically flawed so that they are
at best unproven, to use the Scottish
verdict, or at worse false. As a result too
often we are blaming the messenger
for more deep-rooted ills of the body
politic. This matters, not just because
we need to understand the real causes
of civic disengagement to advance our
knowledge, but also because the correct
diagnosis has serious implications for
public policy choices. This is especially
important in newer democracies
struggling to institutionalize a free press
in the transition from authoritarian rule.
Blaming the messengercan prove a
deeply conservative strategy, blocking
effective institutional reforms, especially
in cultures that idealize protection of the
press from public regulation.
This paper does not seek to claim that
all is for the best in the best of all
possible political worlds. If not broken,
there are many deep-rooted flaws
embedded in the core institutions of
representative democracy; we are not
seeking to present a Panglossian view.
The important point for this argument is
that many failings have deep-seated
structural causes, whether the flood of
dollars and lack of viable third parties in
American elections, the wasteland of
corruption and malfeasance in Russia,
or the lack of transparency and
accountability in Brussels. If we stopped
blaming the news medias coverage of
politics, and directed attention to the
problems themselves, perhaps effective
remedies would be more forthcoming.
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Figure 1
Social,
Economic
and Political
Conditions
Party
Messages
Newspapers
TV News
Internet
Political
Learning
Political Trust
Political
Mobilization
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Figure 2
Trends in Newspapers and Television:
1950s to mid-1990s
153 160 149 149 136 130
271 262 294 295 290 263
858
187
334
419
481
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1996
Source: UNESCO
Number
N. of Newspapers Circulation of Newspapers per 1000 N. of TVs per 1000
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Figure 3
News Use, EU15+US 1999
% Watch TV News Everyday
9080706050
% Read Paper Everyday
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
US
UK
Swe
Spain
Port
Neth
Lux
Italy
Ire
Gre
Ger
Fr
Finl
Den
Belg
Austria
High News Users
Low News Users
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Table 1: The Growth in the Size of the News Audience, EU-5
% Everyday 1970
1999
Difference
Read newspaper 27
45
+18
Watch TV News 49
72
+23
Listen to radio news 44
46
+2
Note: For consistent comparison over time media use is compared only in Belgium,
France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. Media use in all EU-15 member states in
1999 was about 5-8 percentage points higher than these figures.
Source: Eurobarometer surveys 1970, 1999.
Table 2: Variations in Regular Sources of News, Europe & the US, 1999
Country Regular
Newspaper (%
read
everyday)
Regular TV
News
(% Watch
everyday)
Regular Radio
News (%
Listen
everyday)
Online Users
(% With
access)
Austria 54
63
67
11
Belgium 30
66
42
11
Denmark 56
76
65
44
Finland 69
82
49
39
France 26
58
37
9
Germany 63
68
56
8
Greece 17
80
19
7
Ireland 44
66
64
14
Italy 29
82
23
14
Luxembourg 53
71
60
22
Netherlands 61
76
56
32
Portugal 16
62
27
5
Spain 27
70
32
8
Sweden 58
63
47
61
UK 49
71
45
22
US 34
53
29
49
Northern Europe 60
71
57
48
Western Europe 48
70
52
17
Southern Europe 22
74
25
9
EU15 45
71
47
20
Notes: Regular newspaper readers: Reads the news in daily papers everyday. Regular
television news: Watches the news on television everyday. Regular radio news: Listens
to the news on the radio everyday.Northern Europe: Denmark, Finland and Sweden
Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, and UK Southern Europe: Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain.
Sources: EuroBarometer 51.0 Spring 1999; American National Election Study, 1998.
N
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Table 3: Models Predicting Readership of Newspapers in 1970, 1980 and 1999, EU5
Predictors of
Newspaper
Readership
1970
Sig. Predictors of
Newspaper
Readership
1980
Sig. Predictors of
Newspaper
Readership
1999
Sig.
DEMOGRAPHICS
Education .16
** .16
** .04
*
Gender: Male .25
** .15
** .08
**
Age (years) .16
** .13
** .15
**
Left-Right Ideology -.04
** -.04
** .01
SES .08
** .04
** .08
**
Household Income .09
** .10
** .12
**
Urbanization .02
.10
** .01
USE OF NEWS
TV News Use .11
** .19
** .18
**
Radio News Use .15
** .12
** .16
**
NATION
Belgium -.17
** -.07
** -.21
**
France -.12
** -.25
** -.23
**
Italy -.14
** -.27
-.16
**
Netherlands -.01
** -.01
** -.05
*
Constant .56
.63
.74
R2 .22
.24
.25
N. 8567
6521
6218
Notes: The table reports the standardized beta coefficients predicting frequency of
reading newspapers based on ordinary least squared regression models. The
dependent variables are the 5 point scales measuring frequency of use of newspaper
and television news, where 5 = everyday useand 1 = never use. Sig. P. **>.01 *>.05
The German dummy variable is excluded as a predictor in these models.
Education: Age finished full-time education
L-R Ideology Scale: Coded from left (1) to right (10)
SES: Manual (0) or Non-Manual HoH
Urbanization: Rural (1), Small town (2), Large Town/City (3)
TV News and Radio News: Frequency of use on 5-point scales
Sources: European Community Study 1970; EuroBarometer 13.0 April 1980 weighted
for EU6; EuroBarometer 50.1 Mar-Apr 1999 weighted for EU6.
N
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N
NI
IIC
C
CA
A
AT
T
TI
IIO
O
ON
N
NS
S
S
I
IIN
N
N
P
P
PO
O
OS
S
ST
T
T-
-
-I
IIN
N
ND
D
DU
U
US
S
ST
T
TR
R
RI
IIA
A
AL
L
L
D
D
DE
E
EM
M
MO
O
OC
C
CR
R
RA
A
AC
C
CI
IIE
E
ES
S
S
16
Table 4: Models Predicting TV News Viewership in 1970, 1980 and 1999, EU5
Predictors
of TV News
Viewership
1970
Sig. Predictors
of TV News
Viewership
1980
Sig. Predictors of
TV News
Viewership
1999
Sig.
DEMOGRAPHICS
Education -.07
** -.03
** -.03
Gender .04
** .01
* .00
Age .16
** .09
** .14
**
Left-Right Ideology -.01
.05
** .04
*
SES .01
-.05
** .01
Household Income .08
** .01
** .01
USE OF MEDIA
Newspaper Use .13
** .21
** .21
**
Radio News Use .01
.16
** .08
**
NATION
Belgium -.13
** -.02
* .01
France -.11
** -.06
** -.04
*
Italy -.18
** .15
** .12
**
Netherlands .01
-.03
* .05
*
Constant 3.3
3.25
3.65
R2 .08
.12
.11
N. 8567
8827
6218
Notes: The table reports the standardized beta coefficients predicting frequency of
reading newspapers based on ordinary least squared regression models. The
dependent variables are the 5 point scales measuring frequency of use of newspaper
and television news, where 5 = everyday useand 1 = never use. Sig. P. **>.01 *>.05
The German dummy variable is excluded as a predictor in these models. For details of
coding see Table 3.
Source: European Community Study 1970; EuroBarometer 13.0 April 1980 weighted for
EU6; EuroBarometer 50.1 Apr-Mar 1999 weighted for EU6.
N
N
NO
O
OR
R
RR
R
RI
IIS
S
S
-
-
-
A
A
A
V
V
VI
IIR
R
RT
T
TU
U
UO
O
OU
U
US
S
S
C
C
CI
IIR
R
RC
C
CL
L
LE
E
E:
:
:
P
P
PO
O
OL
L
LI
IIT
T
TI
IIC
C
CA
A
AL
L
L
C
C
CO
O
OM
M
MM
M
MU
U
UN
N
NI
IIC
C
CA
A
AT
T
TI
IIO
O
ON
N
NS
S
S
I
IIN
N
N
P
P
PO
O
OS
S
ST
T
T-
-
-I
IIN
N
ND
D
DU
U
US
S
ST
T
TR
R
RI
IIA
A
AL
L
L
D
D
DE
E
EM
M
MO
O
OC
C
CR
R
RA
A
AC
C
CI
IIE
E
ES
S
S
17
Table 5 The Expansion in the News Broadcast on Public TV, 1971-96
Country Change in the Number of
Hours of News and Current
Affairs Broadcasting 1971-96
Change in the Number of
Hours of Entertainment
Broadcasting 1971-96
Australia +931
+42
Austria +2489
+5105
Belgium -507
+2321
Czech Rep +2648
+5848
Denmark +21
+1391
Finland +1051
+2474
France -464
+6448
Greece +2709
+5324
Hungary +3412
+2296
Ireland +592
+4655
Italy +7300
+12945
Korea, S. +2751
+5195
Netherlands +963
+2243
Norway -115
+1342
Poland +4195
+3698
Portugal +2634
+12051
Spain -238
+2469
Sweden -1069
+992
Switzerland +4251
+8315
Turkey +7259
+14699
EU15 +1290
+4868
OECD Total +2041
+4992
Note: For the full range of categories see Norris (2000)
Source: Calculated from UNESCO Statistical Yearbooks (Paris, UNESCO) 1971-1998.
N
N
NO
O
OR
R
RR
R
RI
IIS
S
S
-
-
-
A
A
A
V
V
VI
IIR
R
RT
T
TU
U
UO
O
OU
U
US
S
S
C
C
CI
IIR
R
RC
C
CL
L
LE
E
E:
:
:
P
P
PO
O
OL
L
LI
IIT
T
TI
IIC
C
CA
A
AL
L
L
C
C
CO
O
OM
M
MM
M
MU
U
UN
N
NI
IIC
C
CA
A
AT
T
TI
IIO
O
ON
N
NS
S
S
I
IIN
N
N
P
P
PO
O
OS
S
ST
T
T-
-
-I
IIN
N
ND
D
DU
U
US
S
ST
T
TR
R
RI
IIA
A
AL
L
L
D
D
DE
E
EM
M
MO
O
OC
C
CR
R
RA
A
AC
C
CI
IIE
E
ES
S
S
18
Table 6: Predictors of Campaign Activism, US 1998
Campaign
Activism
(i)
Sig Campaign
Activism (ii) Sig
STRUCTURAL
Education .13
** .04
Gender: Male .09
** .04
Age .08
* .03
Household Income .08
* .15
**
ATTITUDINAL
Political discussion .12
** .11
**
Lib-Con Ideology .01
.06
USE OF NEWS MEDIA
Media News Use .13
**
Newspaper
.08
*
National TV News
.11
*
Local TV News
-.01
Radio News
.05
Net Campaign News
.12
*
Constant -.82
-1.01
R2 .10
.08
Notes: Columns report the standardized beta coefficients predicting campaign activism
based on ordinary least squared regression models. The participation variable is the 6-
point scale measuring attending a candidate meeting, working for a candidate or party,
donating money to a candidate or party, displaying a campaign button, and talking to
others for or against a candidate. Use of news sources are measured using 7 point
scales. The overall Media Use index is a 29-point scale based on use of TV news +
paper + radio news Sig. P. **>.01 *>.05 For other details see Norris (2000) Table 13.5.
Source: American NES 1998 N.1,281
* It should be noted that this paper is drawn from a new book Pippa Norris A Virtuous Circle: Political
Communications in Post-Industrial Democracies forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, NY, Fall
2000. Full details about the book can be found at www.pippanorris.com.
1 See Pippa Norris. 1999. Critical Citizens: Global Support for Democratic Governance. Oxford: Oxford
University Press; Susan J. Pharr and Robert D. Putnam. Eds. 2000. Disaffected Democrats: What's
Troubling the Trilateral Countries. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
2 Joseph Nye, Jr, Philip Zelikow and David King. 1997. Why People Don't Trust Government. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press; Everett Carll Ladd and Karlyn H. Bowman. 1998. What's Wrong? A Survey
of American Satisfaction and Complaint. Washington, DC: AEI Press; Robert D. Putnam. 2000. Bowling
Alone. New York: Simon & Schuster.
3 Jack Hayward. 1995. The Crisis of Representation in Europe. London: Frank Cass; Svein S. Andersen
and Kjell A. Eliassen. 1996. The European Union: How Democratic is It? London: Sage.
4 See Pippa Norris, ed. Critical Citizens. Global Support for Democratic Governance. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
5 This study focuses on the effects of news journalism and therefore excludes sociological theories that
are concerned primarily with the impact of watching television entertainment on matters like social trust,
community engagement and voluntary activism. For a discussion see Robert Putnam. 1995. 'Tuning In,
Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America'. PS: Political Science and Politics.
28(December): 664-83.
6 James Curran and Jean Seaton. 1991. Power Without Responsibility: The Press and Broadcasting in
Britain. London: Routledge.
7 See Shearon A. Lowery and Melvin L. DeFleur. 1995. Milestones in Mass Communication Research.
New York: Longman.
8 Steven Starker. 1991. Evil Empires: Crusading Against the Mass Media. London: Transaction.
9 Kurt Lang and Gladys Lang. 1966. 'The Mass Media and Voting'. In Reader in Public Opinion and
Communication edited by Bernard Berelson and M. Janowitz. New York: Free Press. According to the
Langs: Televisions style in chronicling political events can affect the fundamental orientation of the voter
towards his governmentThe media, we contend, can stir up in individuals defensive reactions by their
emphasis on crisis and conflict in lieu of clarifying normal decision-making processes.
10 Michael Robinson. 1976. 'Public Affairs Television and the Growth of Political Malaise: The Case of "the
Selling of the President".' American Political Science Review. 70(3): 409-32 P.425.
11 Michael J. Robinson and Margaret A. Sheehan. 1983. Over the Wire and on TV: CBS and UPI in
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12 Lee Becker, Idowu A. Sobowale and William Casey, Jr. 1979. 'Newspaper and Television
Dependencies: Effects on Evaluations of Public Officials.' Journal of Broadcasting. 23(4): 465-75; Lee
Becker, and D. Charles Whitney. 1980. 'Effects of Media Dependencies: Audience Assessment of
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Dean A. Ziemke. 1977. Decline and fall at the White House: A Longitudinal Analysis of Communication
Effects.Communication Research. 4:3-22; Arthur Miller, Edie H. Goldenberg, and Lutz Erbring. 1979.
Set-type Politics: The Impact of Newspapers on Public Confidence.American Political Science Review.
73: 67-84.
13 Michael Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington and Joji Watanuki. 1975. The Crisis of Democracy. New York:
New York University Press.
14 Robert Entman. 1989. Democracy without Citizens: Media and the Decay of American Politics. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
15 Neil Postman. 1985. Entertaining Ourselves to Death. New York: Viking.
N
N
NO
O
OR
R
RR
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RI
IIS
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S
-
-
-
A
A
A
V
V
VI
IIR
R
RT
T
TU
U
UO
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OU
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US
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S
C
C
CI
IIR
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RC
C
CL
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LE
E
E:
:
:
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PO
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IIT
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TI
IIC
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CA
A
AL
L
L
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C
CO
O
OM
M
MM
M
MU
U
UN
N
NI
IIC
C
CA
A
AT
T
TI
IIO
O
ON
N
NS
S
S
I
IIN
N
N
P
P
PO
O
OS
S
ST
T
T-
-
-I
IIN
N
ND
D
DU
U
US
S
ST
T
TR
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RI
IIA
A
AL
L
L
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DE
E
EM
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MO
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16 Roderick Hart. 1994. Seducing America. New York: Oxford University Press; Roderick Hart. 1996.
Easy Citizenship: Televisions Curious Legacy. In The Media and Politics, edited by Kathleen Hall
Jamieson. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Volume 546.
17 Neil Gabler. 1998. Life the Movie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
18 Larry Sabato. 1988. Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism has Transformed American Politics. New
York: Free Press.
19 Thomas E. Patterson. 1993. Out of Order. New York: Vintage; Thomas E. Patterson. 1996. Bad News,
Bad Governance. In The Media and Politics, edited by Kathleen Hall Jamieson. The Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science. Volume 546.
20 Joseph N. Cappella and Kathleen H. Jamieson. 1996. News Frames, Political Cynicism and Media
Cynicism. In The Media and Politics, edited by Kathleen Hall Jamieson. The Annals of the American
Academy of Political and Social Science. Volume 546; Joseph N. Cappella and Kathleen H. Jamieson.
1997. Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good. New York: Oxford University Press.
21 Kenneth Dautrich and Thomas H. Hartley. How the News Media Fail American Voters: Causes,
Consequences and Remedies. New York: Columbia University Press.
22 James Fallows. 1996. Breaking the News. New York: Pantheon Books.
23 Michael Schudson. 1995. The Power of News. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
24 William A. Hachten. 1998. The Troubles of Journalism. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
25 William F. Baker and George Dessart. 1998. Down the Tube. New York: Basic Books.
26 Striking the Balance: Audience Interests, Business Pressures and JournalistsValues. 1999.
Washington, DC: The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
27 Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. 1999. Warp Speed. NY: The Century Foundation Press.
28 Jay G. Blumler and Michael Gurevitch. 1995. The Crisis of Public Communication. London: Longman.
See also Jay Blumler. 1990. Elections, the Media and the Modern Publicity Process. In Public
Communication: The New Imperatives edited by M. Ferguson. London: Sage; Jay G. Blumler. 1997.
Origins of the Crisis of Communication for Citizenship'. Political Communication, 14(4): 395-404.
29 Y. Achille and J. I. Bueno. 1994. Les televisions publiques en quete davenir. Grenoble: Presses
Universitaires de Grenoble.
30 Jurgen Habermas. 1984. The Theory of Communicative Action. London: Heinemann; Jurgen
Habermas. 1998. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Peter
Dahlgren and Colin Sparks. 1995. Communication and Citizenship. London: Routledge; Peter Dahlgren.
1995. Television and the Public Sphere. London: Sage; Tony Weymouth and Bernard Lamizet. 1996.
Markets and Myths: Forces for Change in European Media. London: Longman.
31 Winfried Schulz. 1997. Changes of Mass Media and the Public Sphere. Javost - The Public. 4(2): 57-
90; Winfried Schulz. 1998. Media Change and the Political Effects of Television: Americanization of the
Political Culture?Communications 23(4):527-543.
32 Max Kaase. 2000. Germany. In Democracy and the Media: A Comparative Perspective, Eds. Richard
Gunther and Anthony Mughan. New York: Cambridge University Press.
33 Neil Gabler. 1998. Life the Movie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. P.61.
34 James Lull and Stephen Hinerman. 1997. Media Scandals. Oxford: Polity Press.
35 Diane Owen and Richard Davis. 1998. New Media and American Politics. New York: Oxford University
Press. P.185.
36 Graham Murdock and Peter Golding. 1989. Information Poverty and Political Inequality: Citizenship in
the Age of Privatised Communications.Journal of Communication. 39: 180-193.
N
N
NO
O
OR
R
RR
R
RI
IIS
S
S
-
-
-
A
A
A
V
V
VI
IIR
R
RT
T
TU
U
UO
O
OU
U
US
S
S
C
C
CI
IIR
R
RC
C
CL
L
LE
E
E:
:
:
P
P
PO
O
OL
L
LI
IIT
T
TI
IIC
C
CA
A
AL
L
L
C
C
CO
O
OM
M
MM
M
MU
U
UN
N
NI
IIC
C
CA
A
AT
T
TI
IIO
O
ON
N
NS
S
S
I
IIN
N
N
P
P
PO
O
OS
S
ST
T
T-
-
-I
IIN
N
ND
D
DU
U
US
S
ST
T
TR
R
RI
IIA
A
AL
L
L
D
D
DE
E
EM
M
MO
O
OC
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AC
C
CI
IIE
E
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S
21
37 Kevin A. Hill and John E. Hughes.1998. Cyberpolitics. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. P.44.
38 David Swanson and Paolo Mancini. 1996. Politics, Media and Modern Democracy. New York: Praeger;
David Butler and Austin Ranney. 1992. Electioneering. Oxford: Clarendon Press; Shaun Bowler and
David Farrell. 1992. Electoral Strategies and Political Marketing. New York: St. Martins Press.
39 For a study of this process in Britain see Pippa Norris, John Curtice, David Sanders, Margaret
Scammell and Holli A. Semetko. 1999. On Message: Communicating the Campaign. London: Sage;
Pippa Norris. 1997. Political Communications.In Developments in British Politics 5 edited by Patrick
Dunleavy, Andrew Gamble, Ian Holliday and Gillian Peele. Basingtoke: Macmillan.
40 See, for example, Nicholas Jones. 1995. Soundbites and Spin Doctors. London: Cassell; Martin
Rosenbaum. 1997. From Soapbox to Soundbite: Party Political Campaigning since 1945. London:
Macmillan.
41 Bob Franklin. 1994. Packaging Politics. London: Edward Arnold.
42 Barbara Pfetsch. 1996. Convergence through privatization? Changing Media Environments and
Televised politics in Germany.European Journal of Communication. 8(3): 425-50; Karen Siune. 1998. Is
Broadcasting Policy Becoming Redundant?In The Media in Question edited by K. Brants, J. Hermes and
Lizbet van Zoonen. London: Sage; Ralph Negrine and Stylianos Papathanassoloulos. 1996. The
Americanization of Political Communication: A Critique. The Harvard International Journal of
Press/Politics. 1(2): 45-62.
43 Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar. 1995. Going Negative: How Political Advertisments Shrink
and Polarize the Electorate. New York: Free Press; Lynda Lee Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha. 1995.
Political Advertising in Western Democracies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; Kathleen H. Jamieson. 1992.
Dirty Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Kathleen H. Jamieson. 1984. Packaging the Presidency: A
History and Criticism of Presidential Advertising. New York: Oxford University Press; Karen S. Johnson-
Cartee and Gary A. Copeland. 1991. Negative Political Advertising: Coming of Age. Hillsdale, NJ:
Erlbaum.
44 Pippa Norris. 1996. 'Does Television Erode Social Capital? A Reply to Putnam.' P.S.: Political Science
and Politics XXIX(3); Pippa Norris. 1997. Electoral Change since 1945. Oxford: Blackwell; Pippa Norris.
2000. 'Television and Civic Malaise.' In What's Troubling the Trilateral Democracies, eds. Susan J. Pharr
and Robert D. Putnam. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; Pippa Norris, John Curtice, David
Sanders, Margaret Scammell and Holli Semetko. 1999. On Message. London: Sage.
45 Kenneth Newton. 1997. 'Politics and the News Media: Mobilisation or Videomalaise?' In British Social
Attitudes: the 14th Report, 1997/8, eds. Roger Jowell, John Curtice, Alison Park, Katarina Thomson and
Lindsay Brook. Aldershot: Ashgate; Kenneth Newton. 1999. Mass Media Effects: Mobilization or Media
Malaise?British Journal of Political Science. 29: 577-599.
46 Christina Holtz-Bacha. 1990. Videomalaise Revisited: Media Exposure and Political Alienation in West
Germany.European Journal of Communication. 5: 73-85.
47 John Curtice, Rudiger Schmitt-Beck and Peter Schrott. 1998. Do the Media Matter?Paper presented
at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-West Political Science Association, Chicago. The study found that those
most attentive to TV news or newspapers proved more likely to be politically interested and engaged in
Britain, Germany, Japan Spain and the US.
48 See Stephen Earl Bennett, Staci L. Rhine, Richard S. Flickinger and Linda L.M. Bennett. 1999.
Videomalaise Revisited: Reconsidering the relation between the publics view of the media and trust in
government.The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 4(4): 8-23.
49 See, for example, Frank Esser. Tabloidization of News: A Comparative Analysis of Anglo-American
and German Press Journalism.European Journal of Communication. 14(3): 291-324.
50 The surveys of journalists found no consensus about the relative importance of providing analytical
coverage, acting as government watchdogs, serving public entertainment, and reporting accurately or
objectively. For example, the proportion of journalists who thought that their role as watchdog of
N
N
NO
O
OR
R
RR
R
RI
IIS
S
S
-
-
-
A
A
A
V
V
VI
IIR
R
RT
T
TU
U
UO
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OU
U
US
S
S
C
C
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IIR
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RC
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CL
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:
:
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TI
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C
CA
A
AL
L
L
C
C
CO
O
OM
M
MM
M
MU
U
UN
N
NI
IIC
C
CA
A
AT
T
TI
IIO
O
ON
N
NS
S
S
I
IIN
N
N
P
P
PO
O
OS
S
ST
T
T-
-
-I
IIN
N
ND
D
DU
U
US
S
ST
T
TR
R
RI
IIA
A
AL
L
L
D
D
DE
E
EM
M
MO
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OC
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RA
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CI
IIE
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22
government was veryor extremelyimportant ranged from 33% in Germany, and 67% in the US, to 88%
in Britain. See David H. Weaver. 1998. The Global Journalist: News People Around the World. Cresskill,
NJ: Hampton Press. Pp.466-7.
51 Fritz Plassner, Christian Scheucher and Christian Senft. 1999. Is There a European Style of Political
Marketing?In The Handbook of Political Marketing, edited by Bruce I. Newman. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage.
52 For a fuller discussion see Pippa Norris, John Curtice, David Sanders, Margaret Scammell and Holli
Semetko. 1999. On Message. London: Sage.
53 Jay G. Blumler and Elihu Katz. Eds. 1974. The Uses of Mass Communications: Current Perspectives
on Gratifications Research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
... Dagegen hält Bennett (2014), dass Tarrow übersehen hat, wie sich die Mobilisierung unter digitalen Bedingungen von traditionellen Bewegungen unterscheidet -Unterschiede, die sowohl die verminderte "Poesie" der Worte erklären als auch dazu anregen über die Sprache hinaus andere Aspekte der Kommunikation in den Blick zu nehmen. Damit schließt Bennett an ein Diktum von Pippa Norris (2000) an, wonach die Austauschbeziehungen zwischen Politik, Medien und Öffentlichkeit seit jeher einem permanenten Wandel unterliegen, dessen Phasen nicht zuletzt von tiefgreifenden Veränderungen in den Informations-und Kommunikationstechnologien (mit)bestimmt sind (dazu detailliert: Seethaler 2013). Mehr als frühere Kommunikationstechnologien bestimmen Interaktion ermöglichende digitale Medien den sprachlichen Ausdruck: So bedarf die Koordination "konnektiven Handelns" inklusiver, leicht zu personalisierender sprachlicher Botschaften ("Wir sind die 99%"), die sich über soziale Medien verbreiten lassen. ...
... (Bennett & Segerberg 2013, 6) Die sozialen Medien brachten also nicht neue Formen nicht-institutionalisierter und stärker personalisierter politischer Beteiligung hervor. Vielmehr haben sich zunehmend mehr und vor allem jüngere Menschen in modernen Demokratien von den konventionellen, rein repräsentativen Partizipationsformen wegbewegt und nach Formen unmittelbarer Teilhabe gesucht, die sich stärker an spezifischen Themen, ihren Werten und persönlichen Lebensstilpräferenzen orientieren (Norris 2002). Das bedeutet, dass die sozialen Medien angesichts eines veränderten Verständnisses des Verhältnisses von (demokratischer) Gesellschaft und Individuum und damit von Politik und politischer Beteiligung zu einer Antwort auf ein Bedürfnis nach einer die-sem Werte-und Einstellungswandel adäquaten Kommunikations-und Organisationsform werden, worauf sich zumindest zum Teil ihre weite Verbreitung und Akzeptanz als Teil persönlicher Medienrepertoires begründet (Beaufort & Seethaler 2018;im Druck). ...
... Im Speziellen soll dabei nicht nur der inzwischen größeren Rolle sozialer Medien Rechnung getragen werden, sondern gleichermaßen auch die Bedeutung eines populären Angebots wie des Wahl-O-Mat hinreichend Berücksichtigung finden. Klassische Instrumente wie die Verwendung konventioneller Medien zur politischen Informationssuche, gemeint ist hiermit das Fernsehen, Zeitungen, Radio (Norris 2000), oder auch der persönliche Austausch über politische Themen (Lazarsfeld et al. 1944), sollen in den Blick genommen werden ebenso wie modernere Informationskanäle wie etwa Podcasts oder auch Messenger-Dienste (z. B. WhatsApp, Telegram oder Signal). ...
... Por otra parte, Koeneke (1999) identificó tres tipos de encuadres en las noticias: uno temático, otro grupo-céntrico y un último estratégico. Así, este último tipo de encuadre se relaciona con la hipótesis del "espiral del cinismo" y está en contraposición al encuadre temático, más ligado a lo normativo y a un impacto más cognitivo que afectivo, el cual favorece a un "círculo virtuoso" en las audiencias (De Vreese, 2005;Norris, 2000). ...
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