Politics > Political Life in Society > Doing Political Work: CG2 > Media Contributions

Media Contributions to Political Work

Reality is Created

Psychosocial reality does not exist independently of us in the way that physical reality does (or seems to). People in a group or society construct their reality by endlessly communicating, verbally and non-verbally. As governance must deal with realities, it is natural that the media plays a central role in politics.

If something is never talked about or referred to then, from a political perspective, it does not exist. So the media’s ability to place and keep matters on the agenda (or remove them) is intrinsic to its political role.

Group Channel of Communication Media Contribution Political Phenomena
CG-21 Political Manoeuvring Provide reports on an hourly, daily and weekly basis about what the most powerful individuals representing the most powerful groups are saying and doing in pursuit of their goals.
  • The more powerful the person, the more coverage is provided.
  • Financial pressures may be brought to bear by advertisers who disapprove of an editorial slant or paid-for political statements.
  • Owners of media outlets may use these to quietly pursue their own agenda or overtly identify with a particular political ideology.
CG-22 Official Briefing Media are given access to regular and special briefing events. They also seek and expect a usable account from spokespersons for powerful groups on any important matter.
  • Many officials get information for their briefings from briefings provided by advocacy groups.
CG-23 In Camera Deliberations These are the foci for investigative journalists, especially if seriously corrupt or illegal actions are suspected.
  • Reporting often depends on accidental or deliberate leaks from official sources.
  • The media are most attacking when the social mood is hostile.
CG-24 Public Advocacy The media enable opinion pieces, phone-ins, talk-back, studio interaction, and posting of comments on Internet-published articles.
  • Some media organs may run their own campaigns if the public gets excited. The result may become a frenzy that politicians are unwilling to confront, with undesirable consequences.
CG-25 Open debate The media provide a forum for all to make their cases as best they can.
  • Right of reply is standard in informal media debates.
  • Rules and forceful chairing are needed to handle politicians’ attempts to spoil the debating process.
CG-26 Moral Challenge The media report events selectively: either taking sides or trying to remain impartial.
  • Politicians are usually uncomfortable with both the speech and the speaker. They tend to admire or loathe from a distance.

Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 5-July-2014.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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