Political Power in the Mirror of Mass Media Constructions: The Function of Televised Debates in the U.S. Presidential Election

Laura Vorberg


The article examines the impact of mass media coverage in the U.S. presidential election using the example of the televised presidential debates within the context of Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. It focuses on the functional interactions of the structurally coupled social systems of politics and mass media with respect to the representation of public opinion and political power. The article outlines how the debate broadcast constructions are part of the respective operations of both systems and considers alterations caused by social media communication.


Systems theory, Niklas Luhmann, mass media, presidential debates, presidential election, U.S. election

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5283/copas.226


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