Journalism and Democracy : An Evaluation of the Political Public Sphere book cover
1st Edition

Journalism and Democracy
An Evaluation of the Political Public Sphere

ISBN 9780415212809
Published January 4, 2000 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

The public sphere is said to be in crisis. Dumbing down, tabloidisation, infotainment and spin are alleged to contaminate it, adversely affecting the quality of political journalism and of democracy itself. There is a pervasive pessimism about the relationship between the media and democracy, and widespread concern for the future of the political process.
Journalism and Democracy challenges this orthodoxy, arguing instead for an alternative, more optimistic evaluation of the contemporary public sphere and its contribution to the political process. Brian McNair argues not only that the quantity of political information in mass circulation has expanded hugely in the late twentieth century, but that political journalism has become steadily more rigorous and effective in its criticism of elites, more accessible to the public, and more thorough in its coverage of the political process.
Journalism and Democracy combines textual analysis and extensive in-depth interviews with political journalists, editors, presenters and documentary makers. In separate chapters devoted to the political news agenda, the political interview, punditry, public access media and spin doctoring, McNair considers whether dumbing down is a genuinely new trend in political journalism, or a kind of moral panic, provoked by suspicion of mass involvement in culture.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Journalism and Democracy; Chapter 2 The Political Public Sphere; Chapter 3 Policy, Process, Performance and Sleaze; Chapter 4 The Interpretative Moment; Chapter 5 The Interrogative Moment; Chapter 6 The Sound of the Crowd; Chapter 7 ‘Spin, Whores, Spin’; Chapter 8 The Media and Politics, 1992–97; Chapter 9 Political Journalism and the Crisis of Mass Representation;

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Brian McNair is Reader in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Stirling University and a member of the Stirling Media Research Institute. He is the author of News and Journalism in the UK (3rd edition, 1999), An Introduction to Political Communication (2nd edition, 1999) and The Sociology of Journalism (1998).