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The politico-media complex (PMC, also referred to as the political-media complex) refers to the close, symbiotic relationship between a state's political and ruling classes, its media industry, and any interactions with or dependencies upon an analogous interest group. The PMC is often used to describe collusion between governments or individual politicians and the media industry in an attempt to manipulate rather than inform the people.[1]

Evidence of the politico-media complex, especially in the form of propaganda, can be observed in many areas of media industry, including print, radio, film, television, and the internet. Newsprint has served as a source of political news and platform for political propaganda for the longest. While some critics argue that today's newsprint and magazine industries are in decline, they are still an active industry in the politico-media complex as politicians and interest groups continue to attempt to influence editors and journalists. Radio also represents a potent form of media that is remains susceptible to political influence - it was widely used by governments for propaganda during the two World Wars.[2] Film also can be used to promote propaganda, as it was especially during the two World Wars. It is a medium that can manipulate not only words, but sound and moving imagery, as well. As a result, its capacity to influence the public can be all the more powerful as it not only describes, but ostensibly shows reality and can claim to truly represent it visually. Another media industry that plays a role in the politico-media complex--now one of the two main sources of news across the world--is television. With the same advantages of film, television has grown and transformed political campaigns so that they have come to center around the medium.[3] The framing of television advertisements and programs has been found to have significant effects on people’s perceptions, especially when dealing with political issues or institutions, making the persuasive-power of political groups who can control such networking that much greater[4]. The internet has become the second main source of news and is rapidly increasing in uses and its number of users. The internet's innovations, such as forums, blogs, and 24-hour news sites have dramatically affected the way by which the public views and digests news and politics, such as by giving them increased power to participate in what was once a mostly closed system between the government and the media industry. Every year elections rely more and more on the internet as a source of advertisement and useful information to the public but continues to suffer the same pitfalls of other media as a means of political manipulation.

Early media institutionsEdit

Before Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in 1450, most information was delivered by town criers, ministers from the pulpit, or bartenders. Town criers spread information and news including royal edicts, police regulations, important community events and war news. These early methods of communication were often delivered by messengers on foot, and could be easily controlled by the ruling class. [5] With the invention of the printing press news began to be spread in writing. Corantos, which were semi-regular pamphlets that reported news, are an example of the early politico-media complex. Popular in England, corantos reported mostly foreign news, as the royal government attempted to control what domestic news reached the masses. Corantos eventually would become regular periodicals that were subject to less political control, and mark one of the earlier forms of industrialized media.[6]


Global print mediaEdit

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers".[7] Most of the international papers present in the world today are national papers re-edited for a wider audience. Because of this, there can be biases based on nationality. In any publication there is some sort of bias just from what news is covered and what stories are shown at the forefront of the publication.[8]

Although print media is said to be struggling in the West, newspapers and magazines in second and third world countries continue to do well.[9] For countries in which the majority of the population do not have ready access to the Internet or television, newspapers and magazines are one of the few ways to get the news.[10] However, the independence from political influence, and dependability of newsprint is questionable in many countries. The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index suggests that even in many first world countries the rights of the press are not fully respected, and that the press is not completely free to investigate or criticize the government, though the situation is far worse in third world or politically unstable nations.[11]

The WestEdit


Newspapers and magazines do have a back and forth between readers and journalists. Most studies show that the print media are more likely to reinforce existing political attitudes of the masses than change them.[12] This makes it seem like print news is a mouthpiece for citizens, rather than a tool to oppress them. Of course, the media can only be a reflection of the masses if the masses are allowed to express their views. For this, freedom of the press is necessary.

One of the more comprehensive judges of freedom of the press is Reporters Without Borders. Every year it releases an index, drawing attention to how free the press is in every country in the world. “It is disturbing to see European democracies such as France, Italy and Slovakia fall steadily in the rankings year after year,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said at the release of this year's index. “Europe should be setting an example as regards civil liberties. How can you condemn human rights violations abroad if you do not behave irreproachably at home? The Obama effect, which has enabled the United States to recover 16 places in the index, is not enough to reassure us."[11]


The Communist Chinese government has claimed that Western freedom of press is illusory because it is controlled by a small wealthy minority. However, Reporters Without Borders ranks China's press situation as "very serious," the worst possible ranking on their five-point scale.[13] China's press was ranked 168th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Freedom of the Press Index.[11] The Chinese government maintains the legal authority to censor the press, and in defense of censorship claims that the Communist party in China has the most freedom of press, since there is no wealthy minority controlling it.[14]

The Middle East and North AfricaEdit

Middle Eastern print media is mainly paid for by private funders, either a specific family or specific government party. These newspapers and magazines are rather obvious in their political ties, and clearly display the politico-media complex.[15] Many countries in the Middle East and Africa have harsh government restrictions as to what can be published when, for various reasons depending on political and economic circumstances. Iran, ranked 172 out of 175 is described as highly censored, as the Iranian government maintains strict control over much of the media, including print. Israel has experienced a media control crackdown as the government censors the military action coverage, displaying how governments often limit press freedom during times of war.[16] According to Reporters Without Borders for 2009, Eritrea in Northern Africa is the worst ranked country for journalism freedom, displaying the connection between political stability and media freedom. Eritrea is currently a one-party "transitional government" which has yet to enact its ratified constitution.[17] Other African countries at the bottom of the Press Freedom Index include Syria (165) and Somalia (164).[11] Both countries exhibit little journalistic freedom, and are both known for their unstable transitional governments and near constant warfare.[18]


Where newspapers used to represent an exclusive connection between readers and advertisers, print media must now compete with the power of the entire Internet.[19] For reasons of expense, and reduced audiences, print press is described as declining. Today a little more than half of Americans read a newspaper every day. However, 55 million newspapers are still sold daily in the United States, and newsprint still plays a significant role in the politico-media complex.[20]

In addition to economic struggles, and readership decline newsprint has also struggled with loosing reader’s trust. Surveys have found that people tend to trust newspapers less than other news mediums because they believe commercial issues and political bias motivate journalists. Most people believe their local and national news television stations more than their local and national newspapers. The only news medium that people trust less than newspapers is print magazines.[21]

Some speculation has shown that the youth today are more visually inclined, and are therefore less likely to be influenced by written political news or propaganda. One Pew Center study recently found that 28% of this generation read the paper on a given day, and average only 10 minutes of reading time. Professor Thomas Patterson concludes his study on young people and news with this insight: "What's happened over time is that we have become more of a viewing nation than a reading nation, and the internet is a little of both. My sense is that, like it or not, the future of news is going to be in the electronic media, but we don't really know what that form is going to look like."[22]


History of political radioEdit

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The early American radio industry was composed of commercial shipping companies that used radio for navigation, and amateur radio enthusiasts, who built radios at home.[23] This mixture of military, industry and community went unregulated until the Radio Act of 1912, which required all ships to use radio communication and keep a constant radio watch, amateur users to be licensed, and began regulating the use of wavelengths for radio transmissions.[24] This act represents one of the earliest interactions between the government and the radio media and also set a precedence for later radio legislation, including the Radio Act of 1927, which established the Federal Radio Commission and added further regulation to radio users, both commercial and amateur.[25] Government regulation increased again with the American entrance into World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson ordered naval control of all radio stations, and ordered that amateurs cease all radio activity. Jonathan Reed Winkler, a noted WWI historian, says “It was only during World War I that the United States first came to comprehend how a strategic communications network-the collection of submarine telegraph cables, and long-distance radio stations used by a nation for diplomatic, commercial and military purposes- was vital to the global political and economic interests of a great power in the modern world.”[26] After World War I radio was introduced to broader civilian audiences when Westinghouse released the Aeriola Jr. in 1919, and the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) released the Radiola in 1920. The Aeriola Jr. and Radiola helped established a new channel for the politico-media complex to enter into thousand of American homes. By 1919 the oldest licensed American radio station, KDKA, from Pittsburgh, PA began broadcasting regular music shows, and soon music, educational programming, sports coverage and eventually news coverage became popular.[27] Coverage of politics quickly caught on across the countries, as stations began covering elections, and reporting news of government actions. The close politico-media complexbetween government and radio was finalized in 1924 when the Republican and Democratic National Conventions were covered, and candidates made eve of election speeches, the first instance of radio broadcasting that was meant to affect the American political process.[28]

The radio industry's politico-media complex would only deepen as the years passed. The numbers of radio users exploded, by 1935 about 2 in 3 American homes owned a radio.[29] Politicians quickly learned to reach these huge audiences. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Fireside Chats are an excellent example of the politico-media complex. In his series of informal broadcasts from 1933 to 1944, Roosevelt developed a comforting rapport with the American public.[30] The Fireside Chats enabled the President to communicate directly to the public through on of the most popular media outlets of the time. Politicians would continue to use the radio in World War II, in which the radio was used primarily for news transmissions and the spread of propaganda. One example of radio propaganda and the politico-media complex are Iva Toguri D'Aquino, Ruth Hayakawa, June Suyamawho, and Myrtle Lipton collectively known as Tokyo Rose. These women hosted anti-American programming intended to lower American soldiers' morale and illustrate the use of governments' use of the media to influence the public, or their enemies.[31]

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After WWII and throughout the Cold War era, Democratic nations used long-range radio waves to broadcast news into countries behind the Iron Curtain or otherwise information-compromised nations. The American international radio program, the Voice of America, founded during World War II, became a critical part of Cold War era "public diplomacy," which aimed to spread democratic values, and popularize American policies abroad.[32] In 1950, President Harry S. Truman described the Cold War conflict as a "struggle, above all else, for the minds of men," which the American people would win by getting "the real story across to people in other countries." in other words, embracing the politico-media complex and using it to influence foreign listeners.[33] The Voice of America, operating under the authority of the United States Information Agency, supported programming in forty five languages, broadcasting over 400 hours of programming a week. Programming included unbiased news coverage, musical programs, and Special English broadcasts, which intended to help listeners master American English.[34] The VOA was not alone in its international broadcasting efforts, the United States Central Intelligence Agency supported Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, both propagandist radio networks intended to incite dissent against Communism.[35] Other nations also used international radio as propaganda, for example, Deutsche Welle, the German international radio program was a major broadcaster during the Cold War. By 1965 DW was airing 848 hours of programming to the Soviet Union and abroad and reached 5% of the USSR population weekly by 1980.[36] [37] Deutsche Welle's mission to “promote understanding of Germany as an independent nation with its roots in European culture and as a liberal, democratic, constitutional state based on the rule of law.” illustrates German use of the politico-media complex.[38]

Modern political radioEdit

The Golden Age of Radio may have only lasted from 1935-1950, yet radio is still an active medium in the politico-media complex. Today there is extensive radio programming on politics. One notable example is the Rush Limbaugh Show, which broadcasts the political commentary of Rush Limbaugh, referred to by listeners as "America's Truth Detector," the "Doctor of Democracy," and the "Most Dangerous Man in America."[39] The Rush Limbaugh Show has hosted numerous politicians, illustrating that politicians still use the radio to affect public opinion and the political process. The Air America Media company, provides progressive political commentary and news coverage and is described as "most recognized progressive talk radio network, providing an independent and unfiltered voice to a grateful listening nation." [40] Air America programs such as The Rachel Maddow Show, The Lionel Show, and Live in Washington with Jack Rice discuss recordings of politicians, host politicians as live guests, and act as a connection between the political classes and the media.[41][42][43]


National cinemaEdit

One of film's most powerful political and sociological forms is national cinema, for which there are entire books for individual countries and varying definitions.[44] Films represent societies and countries as they are or how they should and should not be. In a way, it is a cultural gate-keeper that can influence the ideologies and behavior of citizens. As a form of popular entertainment it thus provides a political group or government with a powerful and dangerously imperceptible means of maintaining control over its citizens, though it can also provide non-governmental groups with the power to make change and galvanize the masses (where such films are free to be produced and screened.) Nations and ideological groups can construct and reinforce their collective identities through film, as well as the identities of foreigners.[45][46]

Cultural politicsEdit

Ulf Hedetoft has observed, "In the real world of politics and influence, certain nationalisms, cultures, ideas and interpretations are more transnationally powerful, assertive and successful than others. Where the less influential ones are not necessarily less self-congratulatory, they are certainly more inward-looking and always carry the label of national specificity."[47] He goes on, however, to say that these more transnationally powerful films actually become de-nationalized as a result of its "national-cultural currency" more widely and easily dispersed, mixing with other cultures, becoming either a "positive admixture" to other countries' cultures and identities or a "model for emulation."[47] He compares national cinema that undergoes such processes to English becoming a global lingua franca: the cultural sharing that results is hegemonic and the globalizing process is non-symmetrical.[47]


Propaganda is a way that politics can be represented and manipulated in film. Leif Furhammar and Folke Isaksson credit Russian producers Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin with the birth of propaganda aesthetics, for which the underlying assumption was that by manipulating cinematic images representing reality, they could manipulate spectators' concepts of reality.[48] Documentaries can be an even more effective form of propaganda than other genre films because the form of representation claims to mirror reality, making the manipulation of an audience that much more obscured. [48]

Such British newsreels as The Battle of the Somme of World War I were propaganda because they only showed the war from their own perspective, though it can be argued as being more honest and objective than more recent war documentaries (for they were edited without adjustments for dramatic or epic effect. Their photographers remained on their front lines, therefore presenting at least some truth.[48] According to Furhammar and Isaksson, it was Russian filmmakers who were the "masters of montage" who discovered film's power to create convincing illusion with cutting, rhythmic editing, and a didactic approach.[48]

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When sound became possible, documentaries could be all the more politically powerful with the use of speakers' voices and music.[48] In Nazi Germany, newsreels were just as important as feature films, while in Fascist Italy propaganda was mostly limited to documentaries.[48] A comparison of the first three installments of the American series Why We Fight and the Nazi documentary Sieg im Westen (Victory in the West) demonstrates how convincing even two opposing interpretations of the same events can be. The first covers years in a couple of hours but its density disguises any omission of truth while the latter manages to depict war with real images but without blood or death. The same is found in documentaries about the Spanish Civil War.[49]

Falsification of political matter in documentaries can be created by lifting shots of events other than the one being dealt with and including them in the film so that they appear to be a part of the "reality" it claims to represent. The House Committee on Un-American Activities, for example, did this with Operation Abolition in 1960 and Nazi newsreels depicted scenes of the Allies' defeat at Dieppe as real scenes from the Normandy invasion just a few days afterward to convince audience of the Reich's success. Audience's political affiliations can also be manipulated by actually staging the ostensibly real events as the 1944 Nazi picture The Fuhrer Gives the Jews a Town did. [50]

World War II propaganda persisted 30 years after Dachau and Auschwitz such as in the thinly disguised fascist Italian film The Night Porter (1974). The film sought to legitimize the Nazis' genocide, while glorifying sadism, brutality, and machismo.[51] What amazes Henry Giroux, as he explains in "Breaking into the Movies," is that such blatant ideological messages were ignored by critics and the general public. That society may be incapable of testing the present against the past has implications for post-industrial oppression in the West and the strategies for resisting it. Despite the writings of Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, and Paulo Freire, the majority of Americans (at least) do not recognize how important class hegemony, or cultural domination, is in nations where populations are kept obedient to governments through ideological means.[52] He argues, "We are not only victims in the political and material sense, but are also tied emotionally and intellectually to the prevailing ruling-class norms and values." [52]

Though feature forms of propaganda lack documentaries' ostensible authenticity they can retain political power because directors' resources are less limited and they can create the reality of the film. They further compensate for lack of credibility with intensity.[53]

Anti-politics in filmEdit

Despite the strong patriotism and nationalism of Americans, overtly political films have never been popular in the U.S. while films that have represented politics inconspicuously (such as in the form of propaganda) have remained popular.[54] Besides Frank Capra, no other major American filmmaker has seriously presented central themes of citizenship, participation, and responsibility in civic life amidst the complexities and corruption of the political world. While Capra sought to "develop a positive American cinematic vocabulary for political action" of the individual, as Charles Lindholm and John A. Hall describe, he ultimately failed.[55]

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Capra's films are characterized by the same basic formula according to which the fundamental American values of fairness and honesty are challenged by the corruption and cruelty of politics. Ironically, Ronald Reagan later extensively quoted the speech made by Mr. Deeds in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) in which he expresses his disgust with the complexities of politics and calls for individual goodness.[56] In his next film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, (1939) Capra reinforces the integrity and decency of the everyman who can transcend politics despite the power and crookedness of special interest groups.[57] After the hero of John Doe realizes his need for others, he discovers and attempts to expose a fascist bidder for presidency planning to take advantage of his club support. He fails, however, in the midst of a violent mob with the depressing conclusion that the American public is a credulous crowd, susceptible to manipulation until the John Doe club members come begging his forgiveness and convince him to return to lead them.[58]

The ending of John Doe was unsuccessful amongst audiences and critics, discouraging any more political films for Capra and no films of merit after It's a Wonderful Life. Capra's ultimate fall from filmmaking and his advice that all American filmmakers should forget politics if they do not want to cut themselves in half signify the challenge filmmakers face when they attempt to criticize politics.[59] Lindholm and Hall observe that "the problems that defeated Capra have also undercut later attempts by American filmmakers to portray the complex relationship between individualism and citizenship in the United States" and claim that Hollywood has instead adopted the paranoia of politics that Capra had tried to overcome.[60] Consequently, political films in the U.S. have followed a trend of focusing on the flawed character of leaders, such a films like Citizen Kane (1940) and Nixon (1995). Otherwise, they show the corruption of power, such as in The Candidate (1972) and Primary Colors (1998). Other films, like A Face in a Crowd (1957) and All the King's Men (1949), follow John Doe's warning. JFK (1991) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962), on the other hand, are based on the premise that democracy is an illusion and Americans are the ignorant pawns of various conspiracies involving, for example, the collusion between the government and the media.[61]

The depoliticizing effect of cinemaEdit

While films can be overtly political they can also depoliticize and oversimplify what is inherently complex, such as class struggle. Film, as it contributes to mass culture, has been criticized for reducing the concept of class to stereotypes and predictable formulas that promote superficial understandings of ideology. Such misrepresentation and the ignorance that it promotes and perpetuates makes audiences and citizens vulnerable to manipulative tactics of politicians in a reality that is complex.[62] One of the exceptions to oversimplification and ideological flattening in cinema is Norma Rae (1979), a film that presents a truer representation than is conventional of the complexities and politics of the working-class struggle and culture at the level of everyday life.[63]

Actor-Politicians Edit

Main article: List of actor-politicians


Role of television in American Presidential electionEdit

The role of television within the politico-media complex has only become more powerful its growth has led to such a transformation in political campaigns that presidential election campaigns now center on it. Extensive studies have shown that mass media have always influenced the political process, but never more so than with the innovation of the television. As the most popular means by which voters obtain information on candidates and the news in general, television is a powerful means by which political groups can influence the public.[64]

This transformation first kicked off in the early 1960s, when newscast programs were increased to a thirty-minute programs, which allowed for greater news coverage and capacity. This expanded time slot allowed more focus to be given to presidential candidates, and network news soon became the center of national politics coverage. Because newscasts were national, the aired political campaigns were able to impact viewers across the country, enlarging the realm of influence.[64]

Rick Shenkman also analyzes the media’s impact on politics in his book, Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter, and observes that although American voters have gained significant political power over the last 50 years, their knowledge of politics and world affairs have decreased, which makes them more vulnerable to manipulation.[64] Shenkman finds that this ignorance stems from the fact that many Americans rely solely on television newscasts for their information on politics and political campaigns. This means that Americans primarily get their information on political candidates from their 30-second campaign commercials, which is very insufficient when considering how vast a politician's campaign actually is. In the past, Americans' primary source of information on politics was from the newspapers, which provided much greater information and detail on the stands of politicians. The great emphasis on passive entertainment in today’s competitive, capitalistic society has led the general public to be far less inclined to sit down and study a newspaper or an online article to determine what is going on in politics. Instead, they obtain their information from what they are able to see in the media entertainment. This method of information gathering has led to the superficial politics and ignorance of voters in America today. Shenkman demonstrates how the political-media complex is reinforced as "politicians have repeatedly misled voters" by "dumbing down of American politics via marketing, spin machines, and misinformation."[64]

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Television's role within the politico-media complex is so powerful that its news media can set a nation’s political agenda by focusing public attention on whatever issue network producers and reporters choose to make the key public issues by broadcasting them. Through this power of prioritization, the news media play a significant role in determining the nation’s political reality; they provide the political information that will be regarded as fact and indicate to viewers how much importance to attach to each topic according to how much air time they dedicate to a given issue and the emphasis they place on it.[65] For example, television news is able to offer cues on topic salience by deciding what the opening story on the newscast will be or by altering the length of time devoted a story. When these cues are repeated broadcast after broadcast, day after day, they are able to effectively communicate the amount of importance broadcasters want each topic to have. This illustrates how the news media is able to set the agenda for the public’s attention.[66]

Political influence on religion via televisionEdit

In his book, “Politics After Television: Religious Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India,” Arvind Rajagopal examines Hindu nationalism during the late 1980s and 1990s in India. Rajagopal analyzed the role of the media in the public’s construction of national, cultural, class, and regional identity. More specifically, he studied the hegemonic role of the Ram Janmabhumi movement and how the Ram project was played out on Indian national television. In his study, Rajagopal found that the Ram project played a role in “shaping discourses about national and cultural identities through the 1990s to the present” in India. [67]

Rajagopal investigated the cultural and political economy of television in contemporary India. His discussion of television revolves around the industrial and cultural politics of the serialized epic Ramayan. The serial epic, which generated unprecedented viewership, was based on the epic story of the Hindu god Ram and aired on Doordarshan, India's state-run television. Rajagopal made the argument that the national telecast of the Hindu religious epic Ramayan during the late 1980s provided much of the ideological groundwork for the launch of the Ram Janmabhumi movement. To defend his argument, Rajagopal stated that “television profoundly changes the context of politics” (p. 24).[67]

The epic was broadcasted on national television, sponsored by the ruling Congress government. Rajagopal argues that the Congress assumed that the mere sponsorship of the epic would aid its electoral future by bringing in the majority Hindu vote. Quite the opposite happened, however. Rather, it was the electorally weak Hindu nationalist political body, the Bharariya Janata Party (BJP), that benefited from the serial's popularity. The BJP did so by avoiding the media effects framework attempted by Congress and instead articulating a complex relationship between the televised Hindu epic and its own Hindu nationalist beliefs. The BJP mobilized the public around the symbol of Ram, the lead figure of the serial, but strategically reworked the symbol via the Ram Janmabhumi movement to articulate cultural authenticity, national belonging, and a renewed sense of national purpose and direction. Articulating the temple restoration project within its electoral promise, the BJP, not surprisingly, went on to form the national government in the next general election (p. 43). [67]This illustrates that, as Rajagopal argues, television is capable of profoundly impacting politics.

Central to the BJP’s success was the party’s strategic use of using both the media and the market, by creating merchandise such as stickers, buttons, and audio tapes centering on the key figure of the Ram. Rajagopal argues that the televised epic also dealt with the tension between the past and the present at many levels. This can be seen in the reworking of the epic story of the Ram to fit the conventions of modern commercial television. In addition to this, the epic was laced with twenty minutes of advertising both before and after the program, which helped the serial to reconstruct the past through technologies of the present. [67] This key fact highlights the power of advertisements in the media.

Television and politics around the worldEdit

In the “Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt,” Lila Abu-Lughod suggests that a nation’s television should be studied to answer larger questions about the culture, power, and modern self-fashioning of that nation. Abu-Lughod focuses on the Egyptian nation and investigates the elements of developmentalist ideology and the dreams of national progress that dominated Egyptian television in the past. She analyzes the nation’s television broadcasts and highlights the attempt to depict authentic national culture and the intentional strategies for fighting religious extremism.[68]

The main cultural form that binds together the Egyptian nation is, surprisingly, television serials. These serials are melodramatic programs, similar to American soap operas but more closely tied to political and social issues than their Western counterparts. Their contents reflect the changing dynamics of Islam, gender relations, and everyday life in the Middle Eastern nation of Egypt, while at the same time trying to influence and direct these changes.[68]

Another group who studied the impact of television on politics included Holli Semetko and Patti Valenburg. In their studies, they analyzed the framing of press and television news in European politics. For reader clarification, they provided the best working definitions of news frames as defined from a wide range of sources. News frames are "conceptual tools which media and individuals rely on to convey, interpret and evaluate information" (Neuman et al., 1992 , p. 60). They set the parameters "in which citizens discuss public events" (Tuchman, 1978, p. IV). They are "persistent selection, emphasis, and exclusion" ( Gitlin, 1980 , p. 7). Framing is selecting "some aspects of a perceived reality" to enhance their salience "in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation" ( Entman, 1993 , p. 53). Frames are to help audiences "locate, perceive, identify, and label" the flow of information around them (Goffman, 1974, p. 21) and to "narrow the available political alternatives"(Tuchman, 1978, p. 156).”[69] In other words, news frames act to direct the attention of viewers and promote a specific issue or idea.

News frames have what is known as the framing effect. Framing effects are when relevant attributes of a message – such as its organization, content, or structure – make particular thoughts applicable, resulting in their activation and use in evaluations ( Price et al., 1997, p. 486). Framing has shown to have large effects on people’s perceptions, and has also been shown to shape public perceptions of political issues or institutions.[69]

Like agenda-setting research, framing analysis focuses on the relationship between public policy issues in the news and the public perceptions of these issues. However, framing analysis "expands beyond agenda-setting research into what people talk or think about by examining how they think and talk about issues in the news" ( Pan & Kosicki, 1993 , p. 70, emphasis in the original).”[69] The results of Semetko and Valenburg’s research indicate that the attribution of responsibility frame was most commonly employed by the news. This particular type of framing focuses on making viewers feel a sense of role responsibility, in which they feel bound to perform whatever duties are attached to the given role, and feel a sense of moral accountability for not taking on the role.[69] After understanding the attribution of responsibility frame, it is easy to see why it is such a powerful tool to news programs, as it evokes strong emotions within the viewer.


Impact on political mediaEdit

The Internet has given the world a tool for education, communication, and negotiation in political information and political roles and its use by individuals and organizations as increased. This increase can be compared to the boom of the television and its impact on politics as a form of media. The internet also opens up a world of commentary and criticism which in turn allows for new and better ideas to circulate amongst many people.[70] It gives multidirectional communication, which allows people to stay in connection with organizations or people associated with politics more easily.[71] There are many controversies regarding the politico-media complex as it encourages the practice of providing bits of information or biased information, which leads to public cynicism toward the media.[72]

There is also, however, a positive spin on politics and the media in that it gives us the ability to use multiple forms of deliberation and decision making structures. The advancements of the internet’s impact on politics are outstanding. This form of media has more current information than others since it is constantly constantly being updated. Another advancement is its capacity to have extensive information in one place, like voting records, periodicals, press releases, opinion polls, policy statements, speeches, etc. Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of an election, for example, is more convenient than it has been in the past. Political Information available on the internet covers every major activity of American politics. Users, nonetheless, remain susceptible to bias, especially on websites that represent themselves as objective sources.[72]

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E-mail has achieved a large scale of usage amongst numerous levels of government, political groups, and even media companies as a means of communicating with the public and thus plays a significant role in the political-media complex. The boom of e-mail hit the internet and the public in the mid 1990s as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. Different governments got a hold of this technology, and in 1993 the United States Congress and the White House were using this as communication as a means of communicating with general public. During the Clinton administration a director for e-mail and electronic publishing was appointed and by the summer of 1993, the White House was receiving 800 e-mails per day. In order to deal with the influx of e-mail a more sophisticated system was put in. When an e-mail is sent there is a standard form and is easily categorized. In a six month period, at one point, there were half a million e-mails sent to the president and vice president.[73]


The internet had given people a great resource for information about elections like: candidates, issues, and a place to give and receive opinions and ideas about elections. Since the use of the internet increases, so do the relationship with candidates and their issues. The ability of the candidates to reach as many people as they can through the internet is becoming a terrific resource in their campaigns. The United States Presidential campaign in 1996 between sitting-President Bill Clinton and Bob Dole was one of the first campaigns to utilize the Internet on a national level.[72]

With so many campaigns using the Internet it raises a significant amount of money in a shorter period of time then with any other method. The web sites are set up like advertising sites. There are links to click on to watch ads, information and background on the candidate, photos from the campaign trail, schedules, donation links, etc. E-mail gives a great low-cost way of connecting with the campaign trail and voters.[72]

During the 2008 United States Presidential election between John McCain and Barack Obama, the internet was extensively utilized by both candidates. Facebook, an internet social network, was used heavily to give people the ability to support their views and share information with their friends. Both sent out messages daily to promote themselves and the issues at hand, for leverage against the other candidate.

Discussion forumsEdit

Blogging is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blogging started to become popular at the start of the millennium, and was used mostly by highly educated, highly paid, males. Around 2004 blogging became more main stream and was typically used for political interaction. Many political campaigns use this as a stake in monitoring blogs and actively using them to spread information about their candidate.[74]

The internet creates a space in which people can voice their opinions and discuss political issues under the protection of anonymity. Some discussion forums are actually groups or organizations that set up discussion for a specific purpose about one issue or person in politics. Some problems with discussion forums include the lack of personal contact, which allows people not to take responsibility for posts. Many times online discussions lead to name calling and rude comments. Bias is another issue of online discussion forums because many websites attract like-minded individuals, making it less likely for alternative perspectives to be introduced.[74]

Electronic GovernmentEdit

An electronic government is a government that is inter-networked through digital technology for mass media distribution and communication for voters, taxpayers, schools, hospitals, etc. This is a radical new way to transform government programs by closing the gap between distance and time. This idea gives a more cost effective and convenient way to form programs around the needs of citizens rather than civil servants. [75]

See alsoEdit


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  • Lindholm, Charles; Hall, John A. (2000). "Frank Capra meets John Doe: Anti-politics in American National Identity." Cinema and Nation. Eds. Mette Hjort and Scott Mackenzie. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0115208629
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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  •, A Very Special Relationship
  •, Manufacturing Consent, video documentary
  •, Revealed: Blair's talks with Murdoch on eve of war
  • Semiotics: The Basics, web version. For Positioning of the Subject, select Modes of Address and 'Find (on This Page)'
  • , The Propaganda Model: A Retrospective, by Edward S. Herman, December 9, 2003
  • Newsroom Magazine, "Big Media: America's Political Gatekeeper," September 25, 2009

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