Media and bureaucratic reputation: Exploring media biases in the coverage of public agencies


How agencies perceive, process, and prioritize multiple (potentially conflicting) audiences’ expectations of components of their reputations is a core interest of bureaucratic reputation theorists. Agencies must choose which dimension(s) to stress towards specific audiences, a process referred to as ‘prioritizing’. Boon, Salomonsen, Verhoest, and Pedersen challenge a central argument of contemporary bureaucratic reputation theory, namely that prioritizing assumes government agencies to be rational, politically conscious organizations with incentives to avoid reputational damages and political sanctions. The chapter tests the claim that agency behaviour is (at least to some extent) driven by the distinctive logic of the media rather than by assessments of the relative strength of different dimensions of an agency’s reputation that are subjected to threats, or by the nature of the agency’s task.

In The Blind Spots of Public Bureaucracy and the Politics of Non‐Coordination
Jan Boon
Postdoctoral researcher