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Managing sleaze: Prime Ministers and News Management in Conservative Great Britain and Socialist Spain

By Karen Sanders, Tim Bale and María José Canel


This article investigates the different ways in which two European heads of government, John Major in Britain and Felipe Gonzalez in Spain, achieved ostensibly the same result, namely to distance themselves personally from the media feeding-frenzy over `sleaze' that engulfed their parties and eventually overwhelmed their administrations. It concludes that, although governmental and prime ministerial media relations are less professionalized in Spain than in the UK, the `chief executive' of the former enjoys considerably more institutional (and in particular parliamentary) insulation than his counterpart in the latter. He also benefits from a more compliant public service broadcaster and a less universally hostile press in Spain. These two factors, alongside more contingent political and personality-driven differences, account for the fact that Gonzalez, unlike Major, was able not only to distance himself but also to retain some semblance of respect for his leadership capacity as traditionally defined

Topics: JN101, JN8101
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 1999
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