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State-media consensus on going to war? Australian newspapers, political elites, and fighting the Islamic State

journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2019, 00:00 authored by Peter Mulherin, Benjamin IsakhanBenjamin Isakhan
This article assesses the link between the state and the media in their coverage of foreign policy decisions. It holds up to empirical scrutiny the claim that genuine press criticism can only occur within the bounds of political-elite debate. Taking the Australian government’s 2014 decision to fight the Islamic State as its case study, it explores areas of consensus and dissensus between political discourse and the media. Conducting a qualitative analysis of three media frames used by major newspapers,
it tests the “indexing hypothesis” and concludes that some press coverage went beyond the parameters of political-elite debate. This finding of independent criticism has implications beyond the present case study, as it helps us better understand the role of the media in democracies—specifically, holding governments to account when sending their nations to war.

History

Journal

International journal of press/politics

Volume

24

Issue

4

Pagination

531 - 550

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1940-1612

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, The Author(s)