The Media Syndrome (Paperback) book cover

The Media Syndrome

By David Altheide

© 2016 – Routledge

234 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781629581477
pub: 2016-05-12
Hardback: 9781629581460
pub: 2016-05-14

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About the Book

Over the past 45 years, award-winning sociologist David L. Altheide has illuminated how media formats and media logic affect our understanding of social issues, of how political decisions are made, and of how we relate to each other. In this masterful, summative work, Altheide describes the media syndrome: how these factors shape our expectations of, and reactions to, both public and personal events. Ideal for courses on mass media and political communication, the book

  • provides a detailed description of the media syndrome and its impact on daily life;
  • uses historical and contemporary examples from Watergate to Edward Snowden;
  • includes the changes in the ecology of communication from mass media to social media and its social impact.


"In our mediated reality it is easy to overlook the differential impact of digital technology on public and private life. The Media Syndrome provides an important analysis of its transformative impact on social and personal experience. Professor Altheide offers a powerful and exciting account of the workings of 21st century mediated reality."

Dr Frank Furedi, sociologist and social commentator, UK

"From Watergate to the Islamic State, this book looks at how evolving media logics hardwire events to the social emotions and politics of their time. This tour de force tour of history as shaped by media shows how our social and political realities are inseparable from the communication processes that create them."

Dr. Lance Bennett, Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication, University of Washington, and Director, Center for Communication & Civic Engagement, USA

"This book is much anticipated and recommended to anyone who wishes to better understand how the media influences and directs society. In today’s pervasively mediated world, with user generated content and distribution platforms like YouTube supplanting the traditional media content of newspapers, commercial films, and television programs, the reading audience for this book should be everyone who votes, pays taxes, or simply is affected by government policies or corporate practices. It should be required readings for anyone working in or with the media as a step toward understanding their own impact and responsibility for the ‘media syndrome’ Altheide so aptly describes."

Dr. Ray Surette, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida, USA

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 The Eagleton and Watergate Stories

Chapter 3 The Iranian Hostage Crisis, The News Code, and MediatedDiplomacy

Chapter 4 Gonzo Justice

Chapter 5 The Missing Children Problem: A Case Study in Media Sensationalism

Chapter 6 The Gulf War and The Military-Media Complex

Chapter 7 The Columbine Shootings and Terrorism

Chapter 8 The Propaganda Project and the Iraq War

Chapter 9 Consuming Terrorism

Chapter 10 Mediated Fear: Digital Booty, Wiki Leaks, ISIS, and Ebola




About the Author

David L. Altheide is Regents' Professor Emeritus in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, where he taught for 37 years. His work has focused on the role of mass media and information technology in social control. Author of fifteen books and over 150 professional papers, Altheide received the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI) Cooley Award three times, given to the outstanding book in symbolic interaction, as well as the 2005 George Herbert Mead Award for lifetime contributions to SSSI, and the society's Mentor Achievement Award in 2007. His works include Terrorism and the Politics of Fear, Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis, Media Power, and Media Logic.

Subject Categories

    BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
    BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Media & Communications Industries
    SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
    SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
    SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies