Too Powerful or Just Doing Their Job? Explaining Differences in Conceptions of Media Power Among Politicians and Journalists

  • Rens Vliegenthart
  • Morten Skovsgaard


Within the broader debate about media and politics, a remarkable observation is that journalists and politicians evaluate the size of the political influence of the media fundamentally differently. While politicians tend to emphasize the strong influence of media over their work, journalists tend to downplay this impact. This chapter discusses and empirically tests several explanations for this gap in perceptions. Derived from literature on mediatization, journalistic role perceptions, and political agenda setting, several explanations are put forward. Based on existing comparative surveys with journalists and politicians, and some additional additionally in-depth interviews with Dutch and Danish politicians and journalists, this chapter investigates how we can explain these different evaluations of the political power of the media.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rens Vliegenthart
    • 1
  • Morten Skovsgaard
    • 2
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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