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Mass Media and Democratic Politics

  • Delia Dumitrescu
  • Anthony Mughan
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

This chapter summarizes the current state of our knowledge about the relationship between the mass media of communication and politics in representative democracies. It is an important topic for two reasons. One, the mass communications media are the connective tissue of democracy, in that they are the principal means by which elected representatives and citizens reach out to each other in their reciprocal efforts to inform and influence. Two, the politically relevant media landscape is in a constant state of flux as communications technologies proliferate and change almost from day to day. For a long period, students of mass communication could restrict their attention to newspaper, radio, and television. To this list must now be added, at least, cable television and the internet, each of which has had profound implications for the way voters seek (or avoid) political information and the way political parties conduct election campaigns. The chapter will start with a brief discussion of the role of the mass media in democratic theory. It will then move on to the question of how well the traditional media (and especially newspapers and television) perform this role by examining how they influence individuals' political opinions and behaviors. There will then be an examination of the democratic role of what might be called the “new” media, and especially the internet.

Keywords

Political Attitude Agenda Setting Election Campaign Political Knowledge Representative Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delia Dumitrescu
    • 1
  • Anthony Mughan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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