Introduction—The third wave and the fourth dimension: communications and the media in the information age
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Our world is undergoing significant changes and the bland are leading the blind. Politicians speak in sound-bites while newspaper headlines compress the complexities of the world into clichés.1 Ours is a world in which television talk-show hosts have replaced political commentators as the principal interlocutors of prime ministerial and presidential aspirations at election time, and a world where sleaze and sophistry have triumphed over sophistication and subtlety in the media. Politics and public information about it is increasingly ‘packaged’2 for ready consumption in a manner more akin to entertainment than instruction or information-hence the advent of a new word: ‘infotainment’. Live television brings the dramatic doings of the globe into our living rooms instantaneously. It is a fast world, with fast morals and fast media-and seemingly vast problems.