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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.
clinton–lewinsky, drudge, gatekeeping, new media environment, new news, political scandal, scandal
Williams, B. A., & Delli Carpini, M. X. (2000). Unchained Reaction: The Collapse of Media Gatekeeping and the Clinton–Lewinsky Scandal. Journalism, 1 (1), 61-85. https://doi.org/10.1177/146488490000100113
Date Posted: 09 January 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.