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10 - Peopolisation et politique

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Eric Darras

La coproduction des grands hommes. Remarques sur les métamorphoses du regard politique

Le Temps des médias n°10, printemps 2008, p.82-101

The coverage of the private lives of political leaders in France is not as new as it appears. The aims and views of political sociologists in this regard differ from those of journalists and politicians. “People-oriented” political news can be explained with the mutual interest of politicians and journalists for increasing audiences. But the coverage of politicians’ private lives can also change its connotation : what was positive yesterday might turn negative tomorrow. Such change is thought to testify to a renewal of “objectivity” in multiple democratic roles of watchdog journalism. The journalistic excellence is redefined in two directions : the relationship between journalists and political newsmakers is redefined by including the private life ; journalistic borders shift to include amateurs (ex. internet) that notably increase the journalistic work cadences. Nobody knows if people-oriented news exert any real impact on voters’ behavior but the belief in “mediacracy” is performative (the conviction acts by itself : “a self-fulfilling prophecy” wrote Parsons, citing Durkheim). With the assistance of pollsters and communication advisors this belief can influence the selection process of candidates inside the dominant political parties leading to the investiture of so-called “popular” (journalists-choosen) candidates. A classical error consists in the retrospective reduction of the political achievements of a candidate to his (or her) successful communication strategies. DrapeauFrancais

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