Massimo Ragnedda, Glenn W. Muschert, The Political Use of Fear and News Reporting in Italy:The Case of Berlusconi’s Media Control, in Columbus, Frank (ed.). Journalism in the 21st Century: A Time of Turbulent Change. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Publishers (forthcoming)
Abstract: This chapter explores the relationship between fear of crime and political dynamics in Italy. Of particular relevance is the fact that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is the richest person in Italy, controlling a large share of the mass media industry. Berlusconi uses his media influence to cultivate the public’s fear of crime, for his own political gain. The chapter explores the social science literature concerning public issues, media coverage, and public fear. The Italian media landscape is described, including Berlusconi’s direct or indirect control of various media. The main thrust of the chapter explores the aspects of Berlusconi’s manipulation of crime coverage in media, which manipulates the public’s fear of crime, which in turn may be associated with voting behaviours. Concluding reflections explore the complexities of the model of media manipulation presented and the importance of the Italian case in a global climate of continuing capital accumulation in media industries.