Interest Groups in the News
An underlying and important guarantee of pluralism in a liberal democracy is the availability of diverse information that allows citizens to understand policy issues so action can be taken and social change can progress smoothly. These mostly unstated pluralist assumptions of access to information and access to the means of production of information underlie much of the study of the mass media and research in the social and political sciences in the United States. When these assumptions are closely analyzed, a better understanding emerges of media processes in relationship to social change.
This chapter begins with a review of interest group politics -- a research domain that is central to analyses of policymaking and yet is mostly left untouched by mass media scholars. The bulk of the chapter is a discussion of the literature on how interest groups are represented in the news media, why access is limited, and the effects of this on political participation.
Interest groups are important to the realization of democratic ideals because "once the political community grows beyond the manageable