U.S. TV News and Communicative Architecture: Between Manufacturing Consent and Mediating Democracy
By sidelining communicative architectures that facilitate democracy and an informed electorate, dominant journalistic conventions are key components of propaganda, or the manufacture of consent. Cottle and Matthews argue that ‘communicative structures’ or ‘communicative architectures’, are an under-studied and under-recognised instrument for the manufacture of consent. The ‘classic reporting’ structure (57.2 %) involves brief updates on stories in the news cycle, which “deliver at best thin accounts of events”. The ‘balance’ structure (18 %) ‘ contest and contention’, in which “opposing views and arguments [are] generally given approximately equal weight or representation”, but rarely presents more than two perspectives. “The exposé/investigation frame conforms to the idealized liberal democratic role of journalism as public watchdog where journalists actively set out to investigate, expose, and uncover information and practices that would not otherwise be revealed within the public domain. This includes traditional investigative journalism based on intensive research and exploratory fact-finding as well as exposé journalism of public or private affairs.” This accounted for just 0.4 %.