Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

1-1-2000

Publication Source

Journalism

Volume

1

Issue

1

Start Page

61

Last Page

85

DOI

10.1177/146488490000100113

Abstract

In this article we use the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal to illustrate a fundamental change in the contemporary American media environment: the virtual elimination of the gatekeeping role of the mainstream press. The new media environment, by providing virtually unlimited sources of political information (although these sources do not provide anything like an unlimited number of perspectives), undermines the idea that there are discrete gates through which political information passes: if there are no gates, there can be no gatekeepers. This article is part of a larger project in which we argue that alterations in the media environment have eroded the always uneasy distinction between news and entertainment. Overall, this erosion, one result of which is the collapse of the gatekeeping function, is rapidly undermining the commonsense assumptions used by both elites, citizens and scholars to understand the role of the media in a democratic society.

Copyright/Permission Statement

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, JournalismJournalism page: http://jou.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/

Comments

NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Michael X. Delli Carpini was affiliated with Pew Charitable Trusts. Currently, January 2008, he is a faculty member of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Keywords

clinton–lewinsky, drudge, gatekeeping, new media environment, new news, political scandal, scandal

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Date Posted: 09 January 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.