Television news coverage of defence and disarmament issues

McNair, Brian (1986) Television news coverage of defence and disarmament issues. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In recent years defence and disarmament issues became of major political importance in Britain, and occupied the centre stage in the international arena as a whole. This thesis examines how those issues were reported on British television news, against the background of broadcasting journalism's claims of 'impartiality', 'objectivity' and neutrality', and in relation to factors involved in the social process of news production: the attitudes and assumptions of journalists; constraints on routine newsgathering; and the news management practices of the participants in the defence and disarmament debate. The basic methodology employed in the study is that of large-scale content analysis, but data gained by this means is supplemented with the views of journalists gained in interviews conducted by the author. The first two chapters of the thesis are introductory. Chapter 1 explains the aims and methodology of the work. It sets out the reasons for the choice of 'defence and disarmament' as a case study, and outlines the range of themes and issues contained within this category. Chapter 2 contains a review of the defence and disarmament debate as it was being conducted around the research period. Chapter 3 presents the first in a series of content analytical case studies with an examination of British television news coverage of the Soviet Union. Chapter 4 then looks at the case of the Korean Airline disaster of September 1983, and news coverage of the propaganda war which accompanied it. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 examine in turn what are identified as three 'axes' of the defence and disarmament debate: Chapter 5 is concerned with the superpower negotiations on arms control; Chapter 6 with the debate between the British Government (and the NATO defence establishment) and the anti-nuclear protest movement; and Chapter 7 ends the thesis with an examination of television news coverage of the 1983 General Election, in which defence and disarmament issues played a central role in the party political debate. A brief conclusion brings together the findings and observations of the preceding chapters. Finally, a note on the presentation of the thesis. References are cited in the body of the text by author's name and date of publication. Footnotes are reserved for explanatory or supplementary points. A full bibliography is given at the end. The thesis includes a number of appendices, containing transcripts of news texts, lists of reported statements and journalistic references in various content categories. All appendices are placed at the end of the chapter to which they refer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Mass communication, political science.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities
Date of Award: 1986
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1986-76707
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2019 09:15
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2021 11:10

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