Do politicians keep their word? Political pledges and their redeeming as a research object of political science and media studies
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The question whether politicians keep their promises, in fact, concerns the functioning of representative democracy, respect of political elites for the needs and aspirations of society and, finally, the efficiency of the whole process of political communication, in which the media play an important role. Seeking the answer to this question is one of the constitutive features of the mass media, also called the Fourth Estate. On the basis of the findings of French, British and Canadian researchers, this article attempts to propose a particular set of research methods that would answer whether and how a particular political class keeps promises. According to the author, it is the media that are (should be) the entity – acting on behalf of society – which holds politicians accountable for the promises made. If this assumption is correct, then the methodology of research on how political commitments are translated into political practice (pragmatics of governance) in the light of social expectations (public opinion) should be a fundamental research problem for political scientists, sociologists and media experts. The author cites the results of a research project which analyzed the commitments made by Donald Tusk’s government in 2007 and 2008, and compares them with the content of articles published in “Rzeczpospolita” and “Gazeta Wyborcza” during the first 100 days as well as the first year of government by the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) and the Polish Peasants’ Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe).
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