Gruen Nation: Dissecting the show, not the business

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published version

Carah, N., Brodmerkel, S., & Knaggs, A. (2012). Gruen Nation: Dissecting the show, not the business. Communication, Politics and Culture, 45, 60- 77.

Access the publisher's website.

2012 HERDC submission. FoR code: 200105

© Copyright Nicholas Carah, Sven Brodmerkel & Angie Knaggs, 2012
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY_ND) License




One distinctive feature of the increasing mediatisation of politics in general and election campaigns in particular is the growth of the media’s self-referential reflections on the interplay between politics and media. This meta-coverage has become a familiar media ritual that is not only evident in traditional ‘hard news’ media, but has also become an essential part of comedy and lifestyle programs. While some scholars argue that these self-referential revelations about how political communication and audiences are being conceptualised serves the public interest, others suggest that meta-coverage leads to increased cynicism and disengagement among citizens. In this context, the highly successful Australian television program Gruen Nation is a particularly instructive example. On the program, advertisers and campaign strategists engaged in meta-coverage of the 2010 Australian Federal Election campaign. This article examines how the program’s communication experts decoded political communication, how they performed their professional ideology and to what extent their meta-coverage contributed to a critical analysis of the interplay between media and the democratic process.



This document has been peer reviewed.