Media and Politics

Research and Class Material

The Case for "Liberation Journalism:" Evidence From Russia That the Fourth Estate is Critical to Democracy in the Internet Age

Paper prepared for presentation at the International Communication Association Annual Conference

May 2015

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Download here: ICA oates 2015 may 21.docx

Russian State Narrative in the Digital Age: Rewired Propaganda in Russian Television News Framing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Paper prepared for the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting (Political Communication Pre-Conference at George Washington University) 

Washington, D.C., August 2014

 Sarah Oates

Download here: Oates APSA 2014 rewired propaganda.docx

 Abstract

This paper posits that an examination of strategic state narratives in the digital age can serve as a useful analytical vector in understanding evolving media ecology and political dissent in non-free states. Moving beyond the vague and unhelpful label of ‘online revolution’, this paper introduces the idea of ‘propaganda.’ This concept accelerates the intellectual trajectory that has increasingly rejected a traditional/online media dichotomy and moves to a more dynamic conception of how information communication technology changes the media ecology in non-free states. The rewired propaganda theory posits that the key challenge posed to authoritarian regimes by the internet is the way in which the online sphere challenges how the Russian state has traditionally dominated the information heights via television. While there has been compelling evidence of a gradual shift away from the power of nightly news as the key authoritative information source in Russia, the international attention on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 generated significant challenges to the Russian state narrative. Yet leaping to the conclusion that the internet can effectively undermine the state narrative and create an alternative, authoritative national news source has not proven useful in the Russian case. In addition, this idea is essentially too crude to analyze the situation in other countries. Rather, the focus of the research (the dependent variable) should be the national narrative as expressed on state television, with change measured by how the state narrative is challenged by a particular event. The independent variables include alternative sources of information online, but the critical forces that shape the state narrative are far wider in scope and embrace the nature of the story, the coverage in the international media, cohesion among elites, citizen attitudes, the strength of the opposition, the state of online news, and state manipulation of online sources. This paper will focus on how Vremya, the flagship news program on the state-run First Channel in Russia, created a strategic narrative within a new media ecology in the week after the attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. This study uses the framing of the same event on one of the most popular worldwide news sites, BBC online, to highlight the challenge of fitting the Russian strategic narrative into the global media ecology created in the online age. This can help to construct the idea of a rewired propaganda model to apply it comparatively, providing a far more nuanced and useful understanding than the idea that information flow online will build to a particular critical mass and ‘overturn’ a regime. This model will allow analysts to consider the relative power of the new media ecology in challenging an authoritarian regime by measuring control of the state strategic narrative. 

Publications and Presentations

Sarah Oates

IAMCR 2013 Paper

Revolution Stalled

Onlife Manifesto

The Effect of Democratic Discourse in Non-Democratic States: Russian Political Parties On Line. With Ali Fisher. Paper presented at the European Consortium for Political Research, Reykjavik, Iceland, August 2011.

oates ecpr 2011 russian parties online 24 aug 2011 for web publication.doc 

From Parent to Protestor on the Post-Soviet Internet: Locating and Evaluating Political Web Spaces for Families of Children with Genetic Disabilities in Russia

 

Paper prepared for the Political Communication Section Pre-Conference, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 1 September 2010

 

The author gratefully acknowledges the support of The British Academy (www.britac.ac.uk) for this work.

 

For full text for paper, click here:

http://www.media-politics.com/apsa precon 2010 oates_russian internet_30_aug.doc

 

Political Party Websites as Mirror or Prism: Comparing Russian Communists and British Liberal-Democrats in the Online Sphere

 

Paper presented at The New Media in New Europe-Asia Conference, University of Birmingham UK, 30 March 2010

 

The author gratefully acknowledges the support of The British Academy (http://www.britac.ac.uk/) for this work.

 

For full text of paper, click here: http://www.media-politics.com/CEELBAS March 2010/oates ceelbas cprf online 30 march 2010 updated.doc

For tables, click here: http://www.media-politics.com/CEELBAS March 2010/Oates CEELBAS tables.doc

For charts, click here: http://www.media-politics.com/CEELBAS March 2010/Oates CEELBAS Chart 1.doc and http://www.media-politics.com/CEELBAS March 2010/Oates CEELBAS Chart 2.doc

 

Note that both these papers use free web link analysis tools available on http://www.issuecrawler.net/

This is a very useful and user-friendly website that offers excellent tools for web analysis. All of the completed web link analyses can be viewed on this website, so you also can view the material from the charts via the website (although you will need to register -- which is free).

Publications and Presentations

Introduction to Media and Politics

 

A textbook for the emerging field of comparative media studies -- you can search inside on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Published by SAGE and distributed in the US and UK.

Paperback 978-1412902625 £22.99 in the UK, $47.25 in the US

Hardback 978-1412902618 £65.00 in the UK, $99.95 in the US

Introduction to Media and Politics draws together evidence from the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and beyond to provide students with an understanding of the relationship between the media and the political sphere. This highly accessible text balances theory with case studies on elections, war, terrorism, and the emerging role of the Internet, enabling the reader to think critically about how the media should work in the service of democracy. It places the study of media and politics in a comparative perspective, allowing the reader to consider how the same media institutions - including commercial and public service broadcasting, paid political advertising, and war coverage - function in different countries. This text is essential reading for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students of media and politics.

 

If you'd like some FREE academic writing, just scroll down to the conference papers section and download from there.

Now in paperback! A comprehensive overview of the central ideas and methods of study of the Internet in the political science literature.

The Internet and Politics: Citizens, Voters and Activists. 2005. Co-edited with Diana Owen and Rachel Gibson. London: Routledge.

  • Useful as a central, organising text for academic courses on the Internet
  • Provides a comprehensive and readable overview of the central ideas and research methods in Internet studies
  • Includes case studies in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine and beyond
  • Examines the use of the Internet by terrorist groups
  • One of the few books to locate the study of the Internet in the field of political science/comparative politics
  • Features writings by some of the most prominent scholars in the burgeoning field of Internet/media studies, including Maura Conway, Rachel Gibson, Wainer Lusoli, Diana Owen, Holli Semetko and Stephen Ward

Paperback:

  • ISBN-10: 0415435870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415435871

    Hardback: ISBN 041534784X.

    Selected publications

    Books

    Television, Democracy and Elections in Russia (Basees/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies). 2006. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0415381347

    Elections and Voters in Post-Communist Russia. Co-edited with Matthew Wyman and Stephen White. London: Edward Elgar. 1998. ISBN 1858987431.

    Media and Politics. Forthcoming September 2007. Under contract to Sage Publications.

    Articles and Book Chapters

    Comparing the Politics of Fear: The Role of Terrorism News in Elections Campaigns in Russia, the United States and Britain, 2006. International Relations, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 425-437. Download here: http://www.media-politics.com/oates intl relations dec 06.pdf

    A Spiral of Post-Soviet Cynicism: The First Decade of Political Advertising in Russia. 2006. In Lynda Lee Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha (eds) Handbook of International Political Advertising. London: SAGE.

    Framing Fear: Findings from a Study of Election News and Terrorist Threat in Russia. Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 58, No. 2 (March): 281-290.

    The Internet, Civil Society and Democracy: A Comparative Perspective (with Rachel K. Gibson). 2005. In Sarah Oates, Diana Owen and Rachel K. Gibson, The Internet and Politics: Citizens, Voters and Activists. London: Routledge. ISBN 041534784X, pp. 20-38.

    Where’s the Party?: Television and Political Image in Russia. Forthcoming 2005. In Katrin Voltmer (ed). Mass Media and New Democracies. London: Routledge. ISBN 0203328663, pp. 152-167.

    Media, Civil Society, and the Failure of the Fourth Estate in Russia. 2005. In Alfred B. Evans Jr., Laura A. Henry and Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom (eds), Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe Inc. ISBN 0765615215

    Selling Fear?: The Framing of Terrorist Threat in Elections. July 2005. In Security, Terrorism and the U.K., London: Chatham House ISP/NSC Briefing Paper 05/01, pp. 7-8.

    Media Effects and the Russian Elections, 1999-2000 (with Stephen White and Ian McAllister). 2005. The British Journal of Political Science 34 (2): 191-208.

    Media and Political Communication. 2005. In Stephen White, Zvi Gitelman and Richard Sakwa (eds), Developments in Russian Politics 6. Basingstroke: Palgrave.

    Post-Soviet Political Style: Parties, Television and Voters. 2004. In Geir Flikke (ed.)  The Uncertainties of Putin’s Democracy (Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs 2004), pp. 109-128, ISBN 8270021008

    Television, Voters and the Development of the ‘Broadcast Party’. 2003. In Vicki Hesli and Bill Reisinger (eds.) The 1999–2000 Elections in Russia: Their Impact and Legacy. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521816769

    Politics and the Media in Postcommunist Russia (with Stephen White). 2003. Politics 23:1, pp. 31-37.

    The 'Clash of Civilizations' and Postcommunist Europe (with Stephen White and Bill Miller). 2003. Comparative European Politics, Vol .1, pp. 111-127.

    Was It Russian Public Television That Won It? (with Stephen White and Ian McAllister). 2002. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 7(2), pp. 17-33.

    Politics and The Media. 2001. In Stephen White, Alex Pravda and Zvi Gitelman (eds.) Developments in Russian Politics 5. Basingstoke: Palgrave. ISBN 0333948572

    Towards a Soviet Past or a Soviet Future? Understanding Why Voters Choose Communist Parties in Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (with William L. Miller and Åse Grødeland). 2001. In Paul Lewis (ed.) Party Development and Democratic Change in Post-Communist Europe: The First Decade. London: Frank Cass Publishers. ISBN 0714681741

    Religion and Political Action in Postcommunist Europe (with Stephen White, William L. Miller and Åse Grødeland). 2000. Political Studies. Volume 48: No. 4, pp. 681-705.

    Russian Elections and TV News: Comparison of Campaign News on State-Controlled and Commercial Television Channels (with Laura Roselle). 2000. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 5(2), pp. 30-51.

    Eastern Publics and Western Enlargement (with Stephen White, Clelia Rontoyanni and William Miller). 2000. International Politics 37 (Summer), pp. 323-344.

    Russia's Parliamentary Elections: The Dirty Road to the Duma. 2000. Problems of Post-Communism. Vol. 47, No. 2 (Spring), pp. 30-51.

    Russian Television. 1999. In Lynda Lee Kaid (ed.) Television and Politics in Evolving European Democracies. Commack, N.J.: NOVA Science Publishers. ISBN 1560727535

    Party Platforms: Toward a Definition of the Russian Political Spectrum. 1998. Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics. Vol. 14, Nos. 1-2 (March-June), pp. 76-97. Also appeared as a chapter in John Lowenhardt (ed.) 1998. Party Politics in Post-Communist Russia. London: Frank Cass. ISBN 0714644439

    Parties and Voters in the 1995 Russian Parliamentary Elections (with Stephen White and Matthew Wyman). 1997. Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 49: No. 5 (July), pp. 767-798.

    Regional Results in the 1996 Russian Presidential Elections. 1997. Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics. Vol. 13: No. 1 (March 1997), pp. 123-131.

    Selected presentations

  • Comrades Online, paper prepared for “Politics 2.0” an international conference at Royal Holloway, University of London, April 17-18, 2008. Click here: http://www.media-politics.com/oates comrades online revised april 2008.pdf

  • Oates, Sarah and Gwilym Pryce. Pathos and patter in real estate parlance. Scottish Housing Economics and Finance Research Network (SHEFRN) Discussion Paper. October  2007. http://www.media-politics.com/oates and pryce pathos pattern real estatem SHEFRN 2007.pdf

  • Through A Lens Darkly?: Russian Television and Terrorism Coverage in Comparative Perspective, Paper prepared for The Mass Media in Post-Soviet Russia International Conference, 6-8 2006, University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Click here: http://www.media-politics.com/oates surrey 2006 conference.doc

  • Comparative Aspects of Terrorism Coverage: Television and Voters in the 2004 U.S. and 2005 British Elections (with Andrew Williams). Paper presented at the Political Communication Section pre-APSA conference, The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, August 2006. Click here: http://www.media-politics.com/oates_williams apsa 2006.doc

  • Sarah Oates and Andrew Williams. Audience Framing of Terrorist Attacks and the Media in the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia. Paper presented at the Networking Communication Research Conference of the International Communication Association, Dresden, Germany, June 2006. Click here: http://www.media-politics.com/Communicating Terrorism ICA Oates and Williams.ppt

     

  • Citizen or Comrade?: Terrorist Threat in Election Campaigns in Russia and the U.S. (with Monica Postelnicu). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Meeting, Washington, D.C., September 2005. Click here: http://webzoom.freewebs.com/saoates/oates postelnicu apsa 2005.pdf

  • The Mass Media, Elections and the Failure of Democracy in Russia. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, September 2004. Click here: http://webzoom.freewebs.com/saoates/oates apsa paper 2004.pdf

    Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: The Role of Terrorist Threat in Russian Election Campaigns. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, September 2004. Click here:  http://webzoom.freewebs.com/saoates/fear_and_loathing.pdf

    From the Archives of the European Institute for the Media: Analysing the Results of a Decade of Monitoring of Post-Soviet Elections. Paper presented at the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies Conference, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England, April 2004. http://www.media-politics.com/EIM reports/oates_basees 04 paper.doc

    Post-Soviet Political Style: Parties, Television and Voters. Presented at Center for Russian Studies at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs Conference on Putin, Oslo, Norway, January 2004.

    Beacon for Democracy or Tool for Oppression? Fitting the Internet into Political Communication Models in Non-Free States. Presented at the Changing Media and Civil  Society Workshop, European Consortium for Political Research, Edinburgh, March 2003.

    “No Better Heroes”: Political Images, Elections and Russian Viewers." Presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, September 2002.

    "You Watch in Pain”: What Russians Dislike About Their Television Programming." Paper presented at the Russian Politics Under Putin Conference, Centre for European Political Research, University of Dundee, Scotland. May 2002.

    Tuning Out Democracy: Television, Voters and Parties in Russia, 1993-2000. Paper presented at the Political Communication, Mass Media and Consolidation of New Democracies Workshop, European Consortium of Political Research, Turin, Italy. March 2002.

    Television, Voters and Democracy in Russia: The Development of the 'Broadcast Party', 1993-2000, paper presented at the Shambaugh Conference on Russian Politics, University of Iowa, April 2000.

    The Advent of the 'Broadcast Party': Parties, Voters and Television in Russia, 1993-1999. Paper presented at the Political Studies Association Annual Meeting, The London School of Economics, April 2000.

    The Soviet Legacy in Voting Behaviour?: Support for Left Parties in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Co-authored with William L. Miller and Åse Grødeland. Paper presented at the European Aspects of Post-Communist Party Development Workshop, European Consortium for Political Research, Mannheim, Germany. March 1999.

    What's the Story? A Comparison of Campaign News on State-Owned and Independent Television Networks in Russia. Co-authored with Laura Roselle Helvey. Presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Boston, U.S.A. September 1998.

    Parties, Television and Image in the Russian Parliamentary Elections of 1995. Presented at the Images of Politics Conference at the Netherlands Audiovisual Archive, Amsterdam, October 1997.

    Russian Television's Mixed Messages: Parties, Candidates and Control on Vremya, 1995-1996. Co-authored with Laura Roselle Helvey. Presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. August 1997.

    How Russia's Regions Vote: Mapping Electoral Change in a New Democracy. Co-authored with Matthew Wyman, Stephen White and Ian McAllister. Presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. August 1997.

    Russian Party Platforms: Charting Issues in the 1993 and 1995 Duma Campaigns. Presented at the Party Politics in Postcommunist Russia Conference, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom. May 1997.

    The Impact of Campaign on Vote Choice in the Russian Duma Elections of 1995. Presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California. August 1996.