Gäster hos verkligheten : en studie av journalistik, demokrati och politisk misstro

Sammanfattning: The purpose of this study is threefold. First, to study the portrayal of politics and politicians in Swedish news journalism. Second, to study how the journalistic portrayal of politics and politicians, and people´s opinions about politicians, relate to one another. Third, to analyze the importance of media and journalism in explaining why people think of politicians the way they do.The empirical data consists of two parts. The first is a quantitative study including surveys to three populations - citizens, journalists and politicians. The second is a quantitative content analysis of the political reporting in four main newspapers and three news programs.The survey study shows, among other things, that citizens express the most negative generalized judgements about politicians. The content analysis reveals that it is common in journalism to frame politics as a game. In all newspapers except one, this is the most commonly used frame. Furthermore, the results show that media portray politicians as untrustworthy, as involved in corruption and scandals more often than justified by reality, and as if they were strategic actors in a sense that invites negative attributions. These facts all point to the conclusion that the media is partly to blame for the cynical distrust among citizens. However, the statistical analyses do not reveal any strong and significant correlations between the distrust and different media variables. This is not, however, interpreted as an absence of media effects. Rather, it is interpreted as a consequence of the fact that media effects are difficult to isolate in survey studies, in itself an effect of the fact that it is nearly impossible to avoid media exposure.The conclusion, therefore, is not that journalism and the media create cynical distrust; nor is it true that journalism and media have no responsibility. Rather, the conclusion is that journalism and the media activate the cynical distrust of the public, and that they cultivate, nourish and strengthen it.