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The mass media and politics

  • Bill Coxall
  • Lynton Robins
  • Robert Leach
Chapter

Abstract

The communication of political information is an important process in the political system, and the mass media play a central role in this activity. The mass media provide most of the electorate with a framework for understanding past, present and future events. Yet there is extensive debate about both the extent and the character of the impact of the mass media on politics. Some theorists believe that the mass media in Britain facilitate democracy by allowing a wide variety of views to be expressed. Some believe that the media are anti-democratic because of their power to manipulate the way people think about politics at home and abroad. Others are more concerned with discovering the meaning of media content through analysing interaction between media messages and the culture of specific audiences. Many critics have accused the mass media of trivialising politics. Because different television channels and newspapers find that they are competing for a limited number of viewers and readers, there is the tendency to make the news more attractive by treating it as entertainment rather than as a serious business.

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Further reading

  1. Curran and Seaton (1990) and Seymour-Ure (1974) both provide interesting discussions of the position of the media in society. Whale (1977) provides a comprehensive discussion of the political context within which the media operates and which it influences. Stokes and Reading (1999) reviews a range of empirical and analytical material concerning media studies. Tunstall and Machin (1999) analyses Britain’s partnership with the USA and subservient media roles, and Anderson (1997) provides an interesting case-study of the environment and the media.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bill Coxall, Lynton Robins and Robert Leach 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Coxall
  • Lynton Robins
  • Robert Leach

There are no affiliations available

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