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A Virtuous Circle


  • 38 b/w illus. 36 tables
  • Page extent: 420 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.79 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320/.01/4
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: JA85 .N67 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Communication in politics
    • Communication--Political aspects
    • Press and politics
    • Political parties

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521790154 | ISBN-10: 0521790158)

DOI: 10.2277/0521790158

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 08 October 2015)


Is the process of political communications by the news media and by parties responsible for civic malaise? A Virtuous Circle sets out to challenge the conventional wisdom that it is. Based on a comparative examination of the role of the news media and parties in 29 postindustrial societies, focusing in particular on Western Europe and the United States, this study argues that rather than mistakenly 'blaming the messenger' we need to understand and confront more deep-rooted flaws in systems of representative democracy. This 2000 book outlines appropriate standards for evaluating the performance of the news media and the methods available to study this issue. It also compares changes in the news media including the rise of the Internet and the development of post-modern election campaigns. Norris shows that although negative news can erode public support for specific policy issues, in general there is a consistently positive relationship between attention to the news media and political knowledge, trust and participation. For more information on the book, please visit the author's website at

• Presents a controversial thesis and evidence challenging the conventional wisdom • Aims to provide a clear, well-written, and original account of comparative political communications based on primary research • Provides a comparative study of the role of the news media in post-industrial democracies


List of tables; List of figures; Preface; Part I. The News Media and Civic Malaise: 1. The news media and democracy; 2. Evaluating media performance; 3. Understanding political communications; Part II. Trends in Political Communication: 4. The decline of newspapers?; 5. The rise (and fall?) of the television age; 6. The emerging internet era; 7. The evolution of campaign communications; 8. The rise of the post-modern campaign?; Part III. The Impact on Democracy: 9. Negative news, negative public?; 10. Knows little? Information and choice; 11. Cares less? Cynical media, cynical public?; 12. Stays home? Political mobilization; 13. American exceptionalism?; 14. A virtuous circle?; Technical appendix; Notes; Select bibliography; Author index; Subject index.


'… from here on, someone studying the issue will have to confront A Virtuous Circle. the book deserves a wide audience.' International Journal of Public Opinion Research

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