The way Parliament is covered by the media has been singled out for criticism in a high-level report.
The report claims that most MPs are ignored by the media most of the time and that almost all the business of the House of Commons goes unreported.
And it says that many people are often only made aware of politicians through coverage of personal indiscretions, idiosyncrasies or "sleaze".
"We should perhaps, not be surprised if the public then believe that politicians as a social species are dishonest, self-interested or irrelevant," the report says.
"MPs And Politics In Our Time" is written by John Healey, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Gill, head of political research at the Ipsos - MORI Social Research Institute, and Declan McHugh, Director of the Hansard Society's Parliament and Governance Programme.
They write: "There is little doubt that political coverage, particularly of Parliament, could be improved. Most MPs are ignored by the media most of the time.
"Almost all the business ofthe House of Commons goes unreported. If we want the public to be less detached from politicians, then the media must shoulder some responsibility.
"If we want politicians to be able to confront the big issues of our age - security, climate change, economic forces of globalisation, adequate provision and support in old age - then again the media must make allowances and play its part."
The report goes on: "Currently, much media coverage of politics and politicians is short-term, selective and specific in the interests or issues it highlights. …