Citizens or Consumers: The Media and the Decline of Political Participation (BOK)
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"In this superb account of how the British and American news mediarepresent everyday citizens and public opinion, the authors show howcoverage of politics and policy debates subtly - even inadvertently - urgepeople to see themselves as and thus to be politically passive,disengaged and cynical. The book's analysis of how journalistsmisrepresent, even invent, public opinion is alone worth the price ofadmission. Written with great verve, passion and unswerving clarity,Citizens or Consumers? promises to become an instant classic in the studyof the failings--and the still untapped promise--of the news media tofurther democracy." Susan J. Douglas, Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor and Chair,Department of Communication Studies, The University of Michigan "Based on an exhaustive cross-Atlantic empirical study, Citizens or Consumers? is an engaging and incisive contribution to a subject usually restricted to cliches and vague generalizations. Looking not only at how media impact upon their audiences, but the manner in which that influence is mediated by the way in which citizenship itself is represented in news stories, Lewis et. al. offer us unusual and keen insight into a familiar world. Written in an engaging and lively style, first year students and experienced faculty members (as well as general readers) will benefit from its many perceptive insights. Especially useful are the last few pages which suggest how journalists might alter their representation practices to invoke citizenship rather than passive consumerism." Sut JhallyProfessor of Communication, University of Massachusetts at AmherstFounder & Executive Director, Media Education Foundation "The two great duelists for our attention - citizens and consumers - are locked in a struggle for the future of democracy. Citizens or Consumers? offers its readers a sharp lesson in how the media highlight and distort that struggle. It's the kind of lesson we all need." Toby Miller, author of Cultural Citizenship. In recent years there has been much concern about the general decline in civic participation in both Britain and the United States - especially among young people. At the same time we have seen declining budgets for serious domestic and international news and current affairs amidst widespread accusations of a "dumbing down" in the coverage of public affairs. This book enters the debate by asking whether the news media have played a role in producing a passive citizenry. And, if so, what might be done about it? Based on the largest study of the media coverage of public opinion and citizenship in Britain and the United States, this book argues that while most of us learn about politics and public affairs from the news media, we rarely see or read about examples of an active, engaged citizenry. Key reading for students in media and cultural studies, politics and journalism studies.