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date: 14 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Two recent changes in the political arena should prompt a rethinking of our theories and definitions of political communication: the emergence of trans-national and non-national actors on the international political stage and the enhanced ability of individuals to convey messages to large scale audiences. For example, the entity called IS, ISIL or ISIS has demonstrated that it can set the agendas of both legacy media and elected leaders with evocative messaging that reaches a mass public while at the same time bypassing traditional media gatekeepers. This chapter argues that our theories about the altered relationships among leaders, media, and publics should forsake key assumptions in the “transmission” model, are amendable to a focus on message, and reconsider concepts such as the two-step flow. This changed environment requires as well that a definition of political communication include a concept of power not predicated on top-down models of understanding.

Keywords: political communication, politics, communication, political communication definition, mass communication, media

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