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    Regulatory paradigms and elite news media narratives: an exploration of public discourse and agenda-building following the 2008 financial crisis

    Cox, Adam Talbott (2020) Regulatory paradigms and elite news media narratives: an exploration of public discourse and agenda-building following the 2008 financial crisis. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    A common critique in studies about journalism and the 2008 global financial crisis has been that the press, in not warning of looming dangers, had failed to perform its watchdog role. Inadequate editorial standards, commercial pressures and systemic ideological bias were included as possible explanations. Journalists in some accounts were depicted as acting essentially like cheerleaders for unfettered capitalism. What has received less attention is how journalists performed after the crisis, and what lessons they drew from the upheaval when reporting on finance. As the crisis ran its course and a long-held societal belief in the ability of markets to self-correct was questioned, efforts to reregulate the financial industry received extensive news coverage. This thesis considers that coverage by examining discourse surrounding a landmark law in the United States. It looks at how articles and other texts framed discussion in ways that embraced or rejected competing regulatory paradigms, exploring the degree to which journalists offered platforms for pro-market viewpoints or marginalised arguments favouring paradigm shift. Texts were analysed based on the types of frames used, the actors involved and the paradigmatic alignment of frame messages. Results are evaluated in the context of interviews with journalists and other actors to understand factors that influenced coverage. The thesis finds that despite conditions favouring paradigm shift, discourse was marked by resistance to abandoning the pre-crisis paradigm. Journalists were receptive to arguments for increased statism when reporting on crisis causes or the morality of the regulation debate. But more often, issues were framed in terms of economic consequences and here anti-interventionist frames dominated; they reinforced a narrative that regulation is inherently hostile to the economy and to ordinary people. The thesis makes two main contributions to knowledge. First, it offers a new method for analysis of news framing and narratives, one that is applicable to coverage of a range of complex subjects. Second, it adds to a body of crisis-focused literature by showing ways that pro-market narratives continued to imbue coverage after the crisis. Patterns in texts and agenda-building strategies that were identified reflect, and help explain, the resilience of a market-oriented paradigm despite the turmoil of 2008.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2021 14:31
    Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 14:54


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