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War and Democratic ConstraintHow the Public Influences Foreign Policy$
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Matthew A. Baum and Philip B. K. Potter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164984

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164984.001.0001

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Downs Meets the Press: How Party Systems Shape the News

Downs Meets the Press: How Party Systems Shape the News

(p.151) 6 Downs Meets the Press: How Party Systems Shape the News
War and Democratic Constraint

Matthew A. Baum

Philip B. K. Potter

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the validity of the “Downsian Premise,” which states that democratic multiparty systems tend to engender political coverage that is more diverse, more policy-centric, and more prone to challenge the government's policy line than coverage in two-party democracies. To test this proposition, the chapter conducts content analyses of international media coverage of four recent multinational conflicts (Kosovo 1999, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2003, and Libya 2011). Newspapers in countries with more political parties offered relatively more policy-oriented news, more criticism of government policy, and more varied topical coverage than their counterparts in countries with fewer parties. These results lend credence to the Downsian Premise.

Keywords:   multiparty systems, democracies, media coverage, conflicts, Downsian Premise, government policy, newspapers

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