Tocqueville's Interesting Error

Michael Schudson

in The Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199545636
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Tocqueville's Interesting Error

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This chapter takes a look at Alexis de Tocqueville's error with regards to the role of newspapers in democratic life, and tries to show where his view of the press went off course. It suggests that news organizations can only be understood as one part of a multi-institutional complex of monitorial institutions and activities which hold the government accountable. The chapter stresses that journalism is one of the essential contributing factors to an effective democracy and examines the accountability function of journalism.

Keywords: democratic life; newspapers; Alexis de Tocqueville; accountability; journalism; democracy; monitorial institutions

Article.  6289 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Public Administration

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