Table of Contents



Title page

Copyright page

Preface and Acknowledgements

1 Morality and Media

Introducing morality and ethics


Cosmopolitanism and pluralism

Media work

The sequence

2 Mediapolis or the Space of Appearance

The mediapolis


Thinking, speaking, listening and acting

Conditions for the mediapolis

The burden of representation

3 The Rhetoric of Evil

The problem of evil

The mediation of evil

The presence of evil in American popular and political culture

Consequences and questions

4 Contrapuntal Cultures

The contrapuntal

Media and minorities in Europe

Mediating the contrapuntal

Informing the moral agenda

5 The Mediapolis and Everyday Life

The mediation of everyday life



Complicity and collusion


6 Hospitality and Justice




Obligation and truthfulness

7 Regulation and Literacy

Media as environment

Home and away

Towards media literacy




This book is dedicated to my grandchildren both present and future.

Title page

Preface and Acknowledgements

This book picks up where my previous one, Why Study the Media?, left off. It deals with what I am beginning as see as the second of the great environmental crises with which global societies are increasingly having to deal: the crisis in the world of communication. This is a moral and an ethical as well as a political crisis, and I argue in this book not only that the pollution of this mediated environment is threatening our capacity to sustain a reasonable level of humanity, but that it is only by attending to the realities of global communication, but also and even more so to its possibilities, that we will be able to reverse what otherwise will be a downward spiral towards increasing global incomprehension and inhumanity.

Many individuals have helped me along the way both directly and indirectly. Some indeed have had the dubious privilege of reading portions of the manuscript way before they should have been released for any kind of consumption other than my own; and I thank Lilie Chouliaraki, Richard Sennett, Steven Lukes, Nick Couldry, Maggie Scammell, Tom Hollihan and Helena Bejar for undertaking what none of them reasonably should have been asked to do. Terhi Rantanen was the first to read the whole of the manuscript in near final draft and made a huge number of helpful suggestions for its improvement. Otherwise, and it is not at all an otherwise, thanks are due to my many students, colleagues and friends in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE, whose intellectual presence has been, and indeed remains, constantly invigorating.

Thanks are also due to my colleagues, especially Dean Geoffey Cowan, at the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, who generously hosted a period of sabbatical time in the spring of 2004, which was sufficiently calm and stimulating to enable me to undertake the research which led to the writing of chapter 3.

The last year of the manuscript’s writing was by no means straightforward. Many doctors, both in London and Mexico City, are owed immeasurable gratitude for keeping me alive. But beyond anything, I want to record the extraordinary care and devotion of my wife Jennifer, my children, Daniel, Elizabeth and William, and their partners, and my brother Anthony for supporting me (and each other) at moments and indeed periods of great stress. Let this book, in part, be a token of my love and thanks to them.

Parts of the book have involved significant rewriting of previously published material, as follows: