Bill Jones
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The media in British politics I
The ‘mainstream’ media
in British politics today
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The role of the mainstream media in modern politics is one of the most discussed and contested topics in democratic debate. This chapter examines the provenance of political communication and the ways in which it impacts on the political system. It looks at the impact of printing such as printing presses and newspapers on political communication, the importance of radio broadcasting, the development of television in the latter part of twentieth century, criteria of news editors when selecting content, and the usefulness of news values. Those energetic entrepreneurs who founded and ran newspapers became almost instantly known as 'press barons' as their political influence began to be reflected in the honours handed out by politicians. The chapter also discusses the usefulness of different media in meeting democratic functions and presents the democrativeness of the various media elements: broadsheets, tabloids, BBC radio, commercial radio, BBC television and commercial television.

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British politics today

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