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Stirring up apathy? Political disengagement and the media in the 2003 Welsh Assembly elections

Thomas, James, Cushion, Stephen ORCID: and Jewell, John 2004. Stirring up apathy? Political disengagement and the media in the 2003 Welsh Assembly elections. Journal of Public Affairs 4 (4) , pp. 355-363. 10.1002/pa.198

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This paper examines the media coverage of the 2003 Welsh Assembly elections in the context of the wider academic debate about the media's relationship with political engagement. It draws on evidence to suggest a potentially positive relationship between media use and voting, before arguing that this relationship was limited in Wales in 2003, due both to the limited penetration of the Welsh media in Wales and the election's low prominence in this media. It then examines the way in which ‘the apathy story’ dominated media coverage. Such an emphasis wrongly equated apathy with discontent with the devolution process in Wales, and dominated the issues which the public were represented as discussing, while space was rarely given to their views on policy issues. Bad news about electoral disengagement was much more likely to be emphasised than good news, while emphasis on public ‘apathy’ offered a typically negative simplification of political attitudes among the electorally disengaged.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Uncontrolled Keywords: Welsh public sphere; second order election; political disengagement; public opinion
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1479-1854
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 10:31

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