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Uncertain Guardians: The News Media as a Political Institution


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Bartholomew Sparrow is Professor in the Department of Government, College of Liberal Arts.
View author's profile here.

The news media are often presumed to be a fourth estate, or fourth branch of government, serving as a check on the other three. In Uncertain Guardians, political scientist Bartholomew Sparrow argues that this is a mistaken notion. Instead, the media—print, radio, and television—affect policy making just as other political institutions do, whether the Congress, the electoral system, or public administration. The media decide what to report, when, and how, and these decisions affect both the processes and outcomes of the political system



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