Communication
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Title chapter: Crisis of liberal democracy, crisis of journalism? Learning from the economic crisis
Author: Timo Harjuniemi
Keywords: austerity, journalism, democracy, liberalism, post-truth
Abstract: This paper argues that the way journalism dealt with the global financial crisis, and with the European debt crisis, challenges us to rethink our common-sense notions about journalismís democratic role. As political decision-makers all over the Western world resorted to austerity to combat the crisis, journalism was quick to echo the austerity narrative. Due to its logics and practices, professional journalism discussed economic policy in a way that left little room for alternative ideas and worked to reinforce a post-democratic public sphere. By building on the lessons learned from the economic crisis, the paper argues that the popular disillusionment with journalism is hardly to be wondered at. The populist upheaval against institutions of liberal democracy - unleashed by the crisis and the politics of austerity - inevitably manifests itself also as a crisis of professional journalism; a crisis amplified by dramatic structural shifts in public communication. Thus, amid concerns about fake news and post-truth, we are faced with significant concerns about the future political and democratic role of journalism.
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