Media Democracy

Media Democracy : How the Media Colonize Politics

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In his controversial new book, Thomas Meyer argues that the media are transforming traditional party democracy into a media democracya . Political elites submit to the mass mediaa s formulas in the hope of salvaging some influence over their public images. The media thus colonize politics, and the politicansa self--interest turns them into accomplices. Politics and the media have formed a partnership to conduct their main business: adopting well--tested formulas from the theatre to media productions. The public begins to respond to politics as an aesthetic phenomenon, losing sight of the principles that make political action unique and sustain autonomy and democracy. Real power in the media is wielded by an iron triangle committed to the mediaa s logic of up--to--the--minute reportage: media--savvy political elites, pollsters and media executives. Democratic politics with its slow--paced processes has traditionally relied on parties, intermediary actors and the institutions of representative government, but all have been banished to the periphery today. Meyer shows how media democracy has replaced deliberation -- once the lifeblood of democratic public life -- with pseudo--plebiscites. Nevertheless, deliberative procedures could regain some influence through local civic participation and a thorough reform of the communicative culture of the mass media. Meyer argues that the culture of the media should be transformed in ways that would serve democracy, enabling citizens to deepen their understanding of political realities. This powerful critique of media democracy will be of great interest to students of politics and the media and to anyone concerned with the impact of the media on public life.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 188 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 20mm | 340.2g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745628435
  • 9780745628431

Back cover copy

In his controversial new book, Thomas Meyer argues that the media are transforming traditional party democracy into 'media democracy'. Political elites submit to the mass media's formulas in the hope of salvaging some influence over their public images. The media thus colonize politics, and the politicans' self-interest turns them into accomplices. Politics and the media have formed a partnership to conduct their main business: adopting well-tested formulas from the theatre to media productions. The public begins to respond to politics as an aesthetic phenomenon, losing sight of the principles that make political action unique and sustain autonomy and democracy. Real power in the media is wielded by an iron triangle committed to the media's logic of up-to-the-minute reportage: media-savvy political elites, pollsters and media executives. Democratic politics with its slow-paced processes has traditionally relied on parties, intermediary actors and the institutions of representative government, but all have been banished to the periphery today. Meyer shows how media democracy has replaced deliberation - once the lifeblood of democratic public life - with pseudo-plebiscites. Nevertheless, deliberative procedures could regain some influence through local civic participation and a thorough reform of the communicative culture of the mass media. Meyer argues that the culture of the media should be transformed in ways that would serve democracy, enabling citizens to deepen their understanding of political realities. This powerful critique of media democracy will be of great interest to students of politics and the media and to anyone concerned with the impact of the media on public life.show more

Review quote

"Meyer has presented a clear and well--structured argument.The stages of the argument follow a logical structure, with a summary at the end of each chapter that covers the main points of the preceding argument ... this book is certainly a worthy and sober undertaking" Lee Salter, Political Studies Reviewshow more

About Thomas Meyer

Thomas Meyer is Chair of Political Science, University of Dortmund Lewis P. Hinchman is Professor of Government at Clarkson University. He is the author/editor of three books and nearly twenty journal articles and book chapters on various aspects of political theory. He is also corresponding editor and translator for the Hannah Arendt Newsletter , published in Germany. He is currently working on a book project concerning the intellectual origins of environmental thoughtshow more

Table of contents

Preface: Media, Culture, and Politics. Part I The Logic of Politics. Chapter 1 Democratic Communication. Chapter 2 Political Logic. Chapter 3 Party Democracy. Chapter 4. Summary. Part II The Logic of Mass Media. Chapter5 Mass Media Logic. Chapter 6 Mass Media Economics. Chapter 7 Media Time and Political Time. Chapter 8 Summary. Part III The Process of Colonization. Chapter 9 Politics through the Lense of the Mass Media. Chapter 10 The Duplication of Politics. Chapter 11 Politics as Theater. Chapter 12 Summary. Part IV The Effects of Colonization. Chapter 13 The Persistence of the Political. Chapter 14 Politics as Pop--Culture. Chapter 15 Pre-- Production and Co--Procuction. Chapter 16 Politics by Trial Balloon. Chapter 17 The Anaesthesia Effect. Chapter 18 Summary. Part V The Transformation of Representative Democracy. Chapter 19 The Marginalization of Representative Democracy. Chapter 20 Who holds Power in Media Democacy?. Chapter 21 Prospects for Party Democracy. Chapter 22 Summary. Part VI Prospects of Media Democracy. Chapter 23 The Internet: A Democratic Alternative?. Chapter 24 Balancing Democratic Gains and Losses. Chapter 25 Infotainment and Information. Chapter 26 Civil Society and the Media. Chapter 27 Summary. Conclusion: Democracy in Transitionshow more

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