By Gary D. Rawnsley (auth.)
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Extra resources for Political Communication and Democracy
They had a near universal appeal. In contrast most categories of public affairs news had only an average or below average readership rating. … Pressure to maximize audiences consequently resulted in the progressive downgrading of political coverage. By 1936 six out of a sample of seven papers devoted more space to human interest content than to public affairs – indeed, in some cases three or four times as much. … … [B]etween 1927 and 1937 the Daily Mail’s sports coverage rose from 27 to 36 percent of its total news, while home political, social, and economic news fell from 10 to 6 percent of total news content (Curran & Seaton, 1997:48–9).
The political elite have the wisdom of political judgement to guide the ‘crew’, the majority, who do not. Even John Stuart Mill, fêted as the ﬁrst to discuss equality of the sexes in a meaningful way, was essential elitist. In acquiescence to Plato, Mill justiﬁed that those with superior knowledge, skill, and education, should occupy the leading roles in political society. Such thinking even permeated the organisation of the BBC under its elitist founder, Sir John Reith. ‘Our responsibility,’ he noted in 1924, is to carry into the greatest possible number of homes everything that is best in every department of human knowledge, endeavour and achievement.
Politics is often about outcomes and the delivery of services, issues that are unlikely to excite, outrage or even interest great swathes of media audiences. Invariably, the media ﬁnd other things to report, and thus seize upon personalities rather than try to puzzle over the minutiae of government decisions. On the other hand, this book will argue that people are not disengaged from the political process or political issues. They are passionate, clear and angry about issues that impact on their daily lives.
Political Communication and Democracy by Gary D. Rawnsley (auth.)