2nd Edition

Making Sense of Media and Politics
Five Principles in Political Communication

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 18, 2022
ISBN 9781032009834
March 18, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In Making Sense of Media and Politics, Gadi Wolfsfeld introduces readers to the most important concepts for examining the interrelationship of media and politics. Five major principles are used to summarize the major arguments:

  • Political power can usually be translated into power over all forms of media
  • When the powerful lose control over the political environment, they also lose control over all forms of media
  • Every political story that appears in every form of media is biased
  • All forms of media are primarily dedicated to telling good stories, which can have a major impact on political processes.
  • Many of the most important effects of the various forms of media on citizens tend to be unintentional and unnoticed.

By identifying these five key principles of political communication, Wolfsfeld examines those who package and send political messages, those who transform political messages into stories, and the effects this can have on citizens and how the more active members of the public ("users") can initiate their own stories. The result is a brief, engaging guide to help make sense of the wider world of media and politics and an essential companion to more in-depths studies of the field.

New to the Second Edition

  • Up-to-date coverage of major political events in the last decade, including the landmark US elections of 2016 and 2020.
  • Devotes more attention to the "hybrid media system" that has developed over the last decade, providing a greater balance between traditional "news" and social media in particular.
  • Includes more cross-national research, especially in non-Western and non-democratic countries.
  • Refines the five principles of political communication to better reflect contemporary media trends.
  • Covers key emerging topics including misinformation and threats to democratic institutions, new forms of political engagement, and the economic base of the various forms of media.

Table of Contents



About the Author


Part I – Political Actors Compete Over the Media

1. Political Power and Power Over the Media

2. Political Control and Media Independence

Part II – Turning Politics Into Stories

3. Every Political Story is Biased

4. Telling a Good Story

Part III – Media Effects and Public Interactions

5. The Media Get You When You’re not Paying Attention

A Postscript



View More



Gadi Wolfsfeld is professor of communication and head of the Communications and New Media MA program at the Sammy Offer School of Communication at the Reichman University (formerly IDC), Herzliya, Israel


Praise for Making Sense of Media and Politics, Second Edition

"In this second and significantly updated edition, Gadi Wolfsfeld shows how his five core principles regarding the roles of political elites, journalists, and the public continue to apply in the digital era. Theoretically sophisticated, empirically grounded, and accessibly written, Making Sense of Media and Politics is an excellent choice for a central text in introductory political communication courses or as a supplement to more general courses in politics, journalism, and media studies."

-- Michael Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania

"As a political communications scholar, researcher and educator, I highly recommend Gadi’s book. I have used it consistently in my political communication class and undergraduate students absolutely love it, referring to it as fun, engaging, and not as "your typical textbook." In fact, they always praise it in their final evaluations and – expectedly – complain about the shift from the textbook to academic articles. The book is written in an engaging and accessible language, often sarcastic, has fun and timely examples, and concludes each chapter with useful discussion questions. I look forward to using the book again."

-- Magdalena E Wojcieszak, University of California, Davis

"No other book makes better sense of the love-hate, multi-layered power-game between traditional media, social media, and politics. Gadi Wolfsfeld, a great academic storyteller, masterfully molds complex academic research into five core stories. I have used the first edition of this book in my Intro to Political Communication course, and it was the text my students liked most. Naturally, this second edition is a must-read for my future students.

-- Tamir Sheafer, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"Wolfsfeld has taken the theoretically innovative, eminently readable, and unexpectedly humorous distillation of political communication insights from the first edition and updated it for the social media age. I’ve been using the first edition in my undergraduate courses for years and highly recommend this thoroughly revised second edition. It’s the best and punchiest conceptual synthesis of the political communication literature that I know."

--Scott Althaus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"This textbook is probably the best way to help comprehend the many politics-media interactions and their effects. After reading this book one feels better equipped to understand political actors, the competition between them, how they are covered in the news and discussed online, and why this matters for the world we live in."

-- Peter Van Aelst, University of Antwerp