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Dumbing Down
Dumbing down

The 1990s witnessed a significant and controversial development in contemporary journalism which continues to generate a lively debate, namely, the alleged shift in the editorial values of journalists which has prompted media academics (Sampson 1996), as well as print (Engel, 1996) and broadcast journalists (Cronkite, 1998; Humphrys, 1999; Clarke, 2003), to criticize national and local media for ‘dumbing down’, being subject to a process of ‘tabloidization’ and offering trivial ‘infotainment’ rather than ‘high quality’ programming as well as news and current affairs.

The dumbing down phenomenon is judged to be global in reach, prompting an academic and journalistic literature in America (McManus, 1994a; Fallows, 1996), the UK (Franklin, 1997); the ‘new democracies’ of Central and Eastern Europe (Sparks and Tulloch, 1999; Coman, 2000); Australia ...

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