Monday, February 22, 2010

North Atlantic Countries

by Caroline Waters

Jamie Reid, for the Sex Pistols, 1977

HALLIN & MANCINI: Definition of North Atlantic / Liberal Countries: The purpose of this chapter is to describe common general traits within the North Atlantic (the United States, Britain, Ireland, and Canada) by comparing and contrasting the four countries. The major themes Hallin and Mancini provide are literalism tied to a commercial mass-circulation press, press freedom, political parallelism, journalistic professionalization, the role of the state in public broadcasting, strong rational-legal authority, moderate and individualized pluralism, and majoritarianism.

Hallin and Mancini argue that, like the Democratic Corporatist countries, the North Atlantic countries also saw a large expansion of literacy due to Protestantism as well as the expansion of the market and of the social classes (199). However, setbacks included Britian’s “fear of the propertied classes that expansion of the press would lead to political rebellion by the poor,” and the “conflicts over the meaning and limits of freedom of the press” in the First Amendment of the United States (201). Nevertheless, with the help of the development of industrial capitalism, the commercial revolution occurred in the 1870s to 1890s (202). This was slowed in Ireland, though, due to its “relative poverty” and “competition from British imports” after Ireland’s Civil War (209). This meant more politicized newspapers remained for a while longer to help form a more democratic system.

The United Kingdom has long issued taxes on knowledge which was one divide over the American colony. The UK continues to tax households with televisions in order to support the BBC.

This promotion was designed by and is named after the "Tea Party" American General Christopher Gadsden who fought against the knowledge taxes.

Commercialization changed the roles of the government as well as business. It freed the newspaper “from dependence on subsidies from politicians and the state” and led to independent journalism (203). It also marginalized everything else, meaning there is less diversity of kinds of newspapers. However, in Ireland, “party papers have continued through the late twentieth century” (205). Hallin and Mancini continue to characterize commercialization of papers by comparing their market structures. In Britain, there is a sharp class distinction between middle to upper-class readers of “quality” papers and the more mass appeal of the tabloids. The United States and Canada have a cross-class readership, and Ireland, although having a tabloid market, is less stratified than the British market (206-7).

Newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst, 2nd from left

Australian Rupert Murdoch built his experience in British media

“Fact-centered discourse” tends to dominate the written media of North Atlantic countries. However, the political neutrality in newspapers is characterized in the United States, Canada, and Ireland, while “party-press parallelism” prevails in the British press (208). Those tabloids are also “intensely partisan” (211). British quality papers too have “distinct political identities” and with that “political affinities of their readers” (212). This “greater ideological diversity” helps explain the reason political parallelism is higher in the British press (240). However, “all four countries have strong traditions of political neutrality” in terms of broadcasting.

In terms of journalistic professionalization, it tended to develop relatively strongly in the Liberal countries. With the increased educational levels of reporters and the North American shift to objectivity, owners of newspapers tended to turn day-to-day management tasks over to professional journalists (219). This gave journalists more freedom and responsibility. However the idea of objectivity was threatened by the need for journalists to be cautions in what they write so that political tensions won’t disrupt business (221). In comparison to North America, in Britain, specialized professional education developed later, but journalists were more strongly protected by the four national directors “whose sole function was to ensure editorial independence” (223). Formal organizations of journalists are not common in the Liberal countries, except in Quebec, “where virtually all journalists belong to the Syndicat des Journalistes” (224). Similarly, Quebec has a “relatively strong press council” while the United States and Ireland do not have one; Britian recently created the Press Complaints Comission (PCC) in 1991 (224). Limiting journalistic freedom are the “extensive editorial hierarchies” (225). There is a push for the “production of market-friendly news” (227). Thus, there is a link between business and editorial operations.

The commercialization of news and the rise of infotainment can be seen not only in the UK but across Europe. Looking at the winners of Europe's Cannes Lions advertising awards in the print and news category for 2008 show very nostalgic themes for an older newspaper audience.

Volkswagen's "product recall" ad campaign, PON's Automotive Handel - DDB Amsterdam

Vintage cars, Mattel Germany, Matchbox, Ogilvy Frankfurt

James Brown record album, Radio Nova, Paris, Y&R France, Boulogne Billancourt

The role of the state in the Liberal countries tends to be limited by the role of the market and private sector. However, the state plays a central role in broadcasting by setting up its ground rules (230). Public broadcasting in Britain, manifested by the BBC, believes that in order to “serve a pluralistic society, it must be separated from party politics and managed by neutral professionals without party ties” (235). Canada and Ireland modeled their public broadcasting systems after the BBC, but in the United States, public broadcasting is decentralized. There is a “reliance on private donations as well as public funding” (236).

The development of rational-legal authority - bureaucracy - is very important for the Liberal countries. It establishes the ideology that neutral professionalism is considered “both plausible and desirable” (244). Also, it provides politically neutral authoritative sources that help bring about fact-based journalism (244). It also “reduces the tendency for media owners to form partisan alliances” (245). Moderate pluralism triumphs in the Liberal countries, due to their catchall commercial media and neutral professionalism qualities (238). Also, since the Liberal countries tend to be associated with “the accountability of government to individual citizens” as opposed to organized social groups, they are said to be exemplary of individualized pluralism (241). All four are also majoritarian. This means that “rather than proportional representation, all have relatively small numbers of political parties, and each system is dominated by two broad, catchall parties” (242). However, in the United States and Canada this is modified by federalism (242).


The BBC Motto: Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation

The BBC is a classic model of successful “broadcast governance,” meaning government controlled media. It's the world’s oldest and largest broadcaster, founded in radio in 1922.

BBC Worldwide concerns the global exportation of BBC to America, Canada and other places. It is the only government media business with an aggressive global agenda as profits benefit the UK government. BBC World News runs on Virgin Media and several US public stations. BBC Publishing and BBC Records often promote materials related to shows. The DVD’s of Doctor Who have been top sellers.

The BBC was a founding member of the European Broadcast Union, started in the 1950’s

After deregulation in the 1980’s, Independent Television and Channel 4 brought competition in Britain. BBC currently controls BBC 1 (regional) and BBC 2 (national), BBC Sport, BBC Childrens (CBBC and Cbeebis), several radio channels and BBC Online. BBC 3 & 4 are digital broadcast only.

BBC correspondents David Dimbleby and Brian Barron in the early 1980s

BBC journalists are considered civil servants.

There is less of an idea of the political body interfering and more of an idea of responsible journalists who observe the political limits. In the past Thatcher clashed with the BBC and BBC journalists have striked on certain issues. A 2004 review of the BBC called the Hutton report led to several resignations for issues in bias. Read a speech by BBC reporter Richard Sambrook, given at Columbia University entitled:America, Holding onto Objectivity

Because it is a government agency the BBC makes public how spends its budget.

No comments:

Post a Comment