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The tabloidisation of politics Lecture 8
The Vicious Circle Politicians  Spin Public  Cynical Journalists Spin
Media Consumption: Influencers vs. General Population <ul><li>Influencers are voracious consumers of media </li></ul><ul><...
<ul><li>Influencers are using new media channels and devices at twice the rate of GP </li></ul><ul><li>They have embraced ...
First Choice for News and Information Sources: Influencers vs. GP <ul><li>Just like consumers state-side, most in the U.K....
But: what the people watch
The impact upon politics <ul><li>News competes with other genres </li></ul><ul><li>News focuses on key frames </li></ul><u...
Relocating Politics <ul><li>Politics moves into other genres </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-life TV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li...
Cultivation theory  (Gerbner & Gross, 1976)
Blockbuster Democracy <ul><li>Joe Mathews ‘The People's Machine’ 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Political attitudes & perceptions ...
Cultivation Theory Revisited <ul><li>What do we learn about politics? </li></ul>
And our perception of politicians?
Possible Effects <ul><li>Politics is viewed as part of popular culture </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians are ‘emotionalised’ <...
The dumbing down of politics <ul><li>Public are not informed properly </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians talk in simple soundbi...
In defence of dumbing down <ul><li>Makes politics more accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Makes politics interesting </li></ul><...
Thoughts <ul><li>Is there evidence all media dumb down? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there evidence media compete with other genre...
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Pol Comm 8 Tabloid Politics

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The focus is on dumbing down here and debating whether the tabloidisation or celebrification of politics is negative making it seem trivial or, as Michael Temple argues, a positive force for engagement. Eighth lecture for final year students on the Political Communication option in Bournemouth University

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Pol Comm 8 Tabloid Politics

  1. 1. The tabloidisation of politics Lecture 8
  2. 2. The Vicious Circle Politicians Spin Public Cynical Journalists Spin
  3. 3. Media Consumption: Influencers vs. General Population <ul><li>Influencers are voracious consumers of media </li></ul><ul><li>They put more emphasis on person-to-person channels </li></ul><ul><li>They are big fans of national newspapers and talk radio </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Influencers are using new media channels and devices at twice the rate of GP </li></ul><ul><li>They have embraced new mediums such as podcasts and videocasts </li></ul><ul><li>They are much more interested in blogs than GP </li></ul><ul><li>PR Implication: Rethink the methods used to reach them </li></ul>Media Consumption: Influencers vs. General Population
  5. 5. First Choice for News and Information Sources: Influencers vs. GP <ul><li>Just like consumers state-side, most in the U.K. turn first to television and the Internet to get information, but Influencers elaborate on TV news! </li></ul>
  6. 6. But: what the people watch
  7. 7. The impact upon politics <ul><li>News competes with other genres </li></ul><ul><li>News focuses on key frames </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mistakes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Journalists are adversarial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rise of the Rottweiler (Barnett) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Political Information is marginalised </li></ul><ul><li>Politics is dramatised / but drama can be politicised </li></ul>
  8. 8. Relocating Politics <ul><li>Politics moves into other genres </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-life TV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The bear-pit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comedy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drama </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But what images are constructed for us? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cultivation theory (Gerbner & Gross, 1976)
  10. 10. Blockbuster Democracy <ul><li>Joe Mathews ‘The People's Machine’ 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Political attitudes & perceptions shaped more by movies, pop culture than politics </li></ul><ul><li>Result is a merger in style of communication / presentation </li></ul><ul><li>The rise and success of the celebrity politician </li></ul>
  11. 11. Cultivation Theory Revisited <ul><li>What do we learn about politics? </li></ul>
  12. 12. And our perception of politicians?
  13. 13. Possible Effects <ul><li>Politics is viewed as part of popular culture </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians are ‘emotionalised’ </li></ul><ul><li>Politics/Politicians not taken seriously </li></ul><ul><li>Politics is not seen as important </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians are seen as idiotic </li></ul>
  14. 14. The dumbing down of politics <ul><li>Public are not informed properly </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians talk in simple soundbites </li></ul><ul><li>Debate is stifled </li></ul><ul><li>Media malaise </li></ul><ul><li>Cynicism in politics </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But whose fault is it?? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. In defence of dumbing down <ul><li>Makes politics more accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Makes politics interesting </li></ul><ul><li>The disengaged are more aware of policy making </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(see work of Michael Temple) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Thoughts <ul><li>Is there evidence all media dumb down? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there evidence media compete with other genres when presenting information? </li></ul><ul><li>Is dumbing down good or bad? </li></ul><ul><li>Based on your conclusion, how should politicians promote themselves? </li></ul>

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