This article deals with a rare event of an overt government attempt to manage the news in response to the political crisis caused by the 2007 media coverage of the Portuguese Prime Minister’s academic degree. The ‘Unigate’ controversy marked the end of the honeymoon period between the press and José Sócrates, as well as the first failure of the spinning and propaganda apparatus of the Cabinet. Apart from describing the full repertoire of action of both news and press management by the Prime Minister to prevent further adverse media coverage and to protect his image and reputation, this study offers critical evidence of cynical reporting and a strategic conception of politics on the part of the Portuguese media. It concludes that the contrasting roles and functioning of the press in democratic societies can coexist and that, despite not being the norm, occasionally the media rises to the challenge posed by governments and political actors and performs its watchdog role.
Keywords: watchdog, spin, press scandal, press management, news management, media roles, Fourth Estate
How to Cite:
Novais, R., (2017) “The Full Repertoire: News and Press Management vs. Media Watchdog”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 7(2), p.51-69. doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.143