New Perspectives on Political Advertising

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Dan Nimmo et al. | Go to book overview

♦ 12 ♦

THE CONTAGION FROM THE RIGHT
The Americanization of
British Political Advertising

Karen S. Johnson

Camille Elebash

THE RELATIONSHIPS between political parties and the mass media have been virtually ignored in comparative politics literature. The general lack of systematic inquiry into this area is puzzling in that early comparativists recognized that a significant relationship existed between political parties and the mass media (Seymour-Ure, 1974, pp. 156-60). Ostrogorski, as early as 1902, suggested that British political parties found their newspapers to be "their most valuable auxiliaries" (p. 409). Similarly, Michels in 1915 wrote: "The press constitutes a potent instrument for the conquest, the preservation, and the consolidation of power on the part of the leaders" (p. 130). It was not until 1967 that a comparativist, Leon D. Epstein, suggested that "counter-organizational tendencies," namely the growth of modem technology and the professionalization of media skills, would "tend to substitute for large-scale membership organizations" (p. 233), i.e., political parties. However, Epstein's counter-organizational tendency thesis has been overlooked by comparativists in their enthusiasm for his critique of Duverger's Political Parties (1954) (see Johnson, 1981, pp. 122-23).

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