Download Citizens or Consumers? (Issues in Cultural and Media by Justin Lewis PDF

By Justin Lewis

This ebook examines the questions of no matter if we've got develop into passive voters, if kids have misplaced political curiosity, and no matter if the media is answerable for a decline in political participation.

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Extra info for Citizens or Consumers? (Issues in Cultural and Media Studies)

Example text

In sum, it is apparent that the most explicit forms of citizen expression – polls and citizen activism – are by far the least common forms in television coverage. Between them, polls and protests account for only 6% of references to citizens on US television, and only 3% of references on British television. Or to put it another way, 95–97% of references to citizens and public opinion on television news feature vague, impressionistic indicators of public mood or attitude, and are not based on any clear source of evidence.

Moreover, polling data are abundant, easily available and would seem to be relevant to most news stories about politics and public affairs. None of the other categories in our study – with the possible exception of demonstrations – requires or involves any systematic evidence about the way citizens think or feel. Yet all of them convey an impression about public opinion. In short, our findings suggest that while television regularly refers to public opinion, it rarely offers any systematic evidence for the claims being made.

Mary Spatz teaches at an elementary school of 600 kids. She’s counted just four parents who’ve offered support. (CBS News, 5th December 2001) What the US news media are thus reflecting is a stereotypical image of a generally conservative American public. This pattern of bias in US news coverage has been found in previous studies, which show that media coverage of public opinion in the USA reflects the centre-right bias of the political class, rather than the more diverse inclinations of the public at large (Lewis, 2001).

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