Social Identity and Representations of Society and Politics in the News
This chapter argues that a model of communication based on demographic-targeted marketing and strategic political communication has become a dominant force in the United States, and that this development has profound consequences for the patterns of social identification in late modern society. In particular, over the past twenty years television news content has trended toward fewer displays of collective representations, fewer positive portrayals of government, and fewer stories about policy issues. The move toward a more personalized and consumer-oriented news format, charged with negative emotional images, has numerous political implications. The chapter argues that changes in the media have engendered a sense of isolation, failing to connect citizens who might share a collective sense of concern and need for action. The implications of this dynamic are explored, as well as the potential for internet communication to correct for the shortcomings of mainstream news.
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