Democracy under Attack: How the Media Distort Policy and Politics

Democracy under Attack: How the Media Distort Policy and Politics

by Malcolm Dean


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The ongoing News International phonehacking scandal has made abundantly clear that the media’s influence over politics is both immense and largely hidden from public scrutiny. As the scandal grows, a question arises: even when they stay on the right side of the law, to what extent do the media influence the political process? In Democracy under Attack, one of the media’s own—Malcolm Dean, the Guardian’s long-standing chief monitor of social policy—expertly indicts his fellow journalists, revealing the ways their distorted coverage undermines democracy.
Based on four decades of upperlevel UK government briefings and interviews with over one hundred senior policy makers, Democracy under Attack overflows with incisive observations and colorful stories, culminating in a damning list of the seven deadly sins of modern journalists. Dean’s long experience and insider status inform his detailed and disturbing account of news production in Britain, revealing the connections between what goes on in newsrooms, lobbyists’ offices, and Parliament as well as how those connections decisively shape government policy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781847428493
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2013
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

 Malcolm Dean worked for the Guardian newspaper as roving reporter, social affairs leader writer, editorial writer, and editor of the society section for over forty years. He is also an associate member of the politics group at Nuffield College, Oxford University.

Table of Contents


1. The rise and fall of mainstream journalism
2. An inside and outside look at policy-making
3. Law and order
4. Drugs: tabloid puppets and pawns
5. Asylum: an oppressive media campaign prompts a cowardly political response
6. Labour’s boldest bid: to end child poverty
7. Vocational education: the biggest disappointment
8. Health and social care: the most expensive breakfast in history
9. The disappearance of the housing correspondent
10. Subverting democracy: seven sins of reptiles


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