When the Wrong Kind of Authority Neutralizes Journalism: Cold War Enmity, Journalism and the US Presidential Race
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This paper addresses how Cold War enmity helped undermine US journalistic coverage of the 2016 presidential race. When the Cold War ended in 1989, its mindset went underground, surfacing periodically to lend form to events and issues in need of public consensus. One of its contours involved longstanding patterns of enemy formation, which years later offered journalists a familiar way of framing the 2016 presidential race. Far from useful, however, these patterns played to enmity short-circuited journalism’s response to changes in contemporary political culture, suggesting that journalists invoked the wrong kind of authority to cover Donald Trump’s struggle in the presidential elections. Not only did this power dynamics forcefully constrain journalists’ ability to provide fuller coverage, but it displayed an adherence to the past that neutralized the development of alternative modes of journalistic conduct that might have been more responsive to what ensued.
keywordsJournalism; enmity; US presidential race; Cold War; Trump.
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