The Stalker Affair and the Press
First published in 1991, The Stalker Affair and the Press documents the media treatment of police constable John Stalker’s removal from his job and argues that this case presents a major difficulty for the standard academic analysis of the press in Britain: namely that it supports the status quo because it is part of the dominant class system. The author argues that the exclusion of non-official and dissident versions of the events can be explained by more direct causes: the ownership of the press and the routine nature of normal news production, which relies on official and established sources. Where such sources do not produce an account of events, as in the case of the Stalker affair, the overwhelming majority of press output questioned the legitimacy of state actions, even to the extent of entertaining the notion that its agents had conspired to commit murder and to pervert the course of justice. David Murphy’s fascinating analysis picks apart the notion of a ‘system’ controlling production to demonstrate the complex interaction between methods of individual journalists, their sources and the ways news is produced. This book will be of great interest to students and teachers of media studies, cultural studies, journalism, and communication studies.
1. Introduction: News sources and ideology 2. The structure of news 3. Reporting and investigating 4. Official reality: The Sampson report 5. The Stalkers as soap opera 6. ‘Tasty friends’ 7. Investigating the investigators 8. Sampson, the aftermath 9. James Anderton’s silent suffering 10. That was then 11. The trial of Kevin Taylor 12. Conclusions Notes and references Index