Article Review : ' Toward A Theory Of Press State Relations On The United States '

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Within this critical article review, I aim to assess and critically analyze the notions put forth by Bennett in his article titled ‘Toward a Theory of Press State Relations in the United States’ (Bennett, 1990). In this article, Bennett formulates his indexing hypothesis, which, at its simplest level, predicts that news content will generally follow the boundaries of elite debate. This means that when elites agree on a matter, this consensus will be reflected in news media, whereas when elites disagree on a matter, the news media will reflect the disagreement by broadcasting a range of opinions. Thus, by evaluating the nature of elite debate, indexing aims to predict the nature of news media. To reach this conclusion, Bennett analyses coverage of U.S. funded counterrevolution forces in Nicaragua from The New York Times, which arguably infers irrefutable evidence to support his hypothesis. Furthermore, Bennett suggests that in a properly functioning democratic system, in which news media is indexed to elite debate, there will be a true reflection of public opinion. In contrast, a media-state system, in which indexing is observed, will produce broadcasts that are out of step with public opinion if the democratic system is poorly functioning. Thus according to Bennett, the indexing hypothesis ‘applies centrally to how the range of… legitimate or otherwise ‘credible’ news sources is established by journalists’ (Bennett, 1990, p. 107). As a result, indexing offers an empirical
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