Volltext: Liechtenstein and the German tax affair:

2.4.2 Three spheres 
Eichhorn's model of social framing of issues distinguishes in principle among three spheres — 
mass media, passive audience, and "elite audience" — the last of which is divided into three 
subgroups: interest groups, political actors, and active audience. According to Eichhorn, the 
fact that the elite audience is subdivided, but not the two other spheres, is sufficient for the 
macro description of processes of social framing of issues. 
Eichhorn (2005, 157) understands spheres as elements that can be observed as homogeneous 
units. The entities that actually act, whether physical persons or organizations represented by 
physical persons, are called actors by Eichhorn. Between these groups, there is an intensive 
interactive exchange, which Eichhorn calls influence processes. The Eichhorn model also 
takes account of functions, which are used in the sense of superordinate tasks of these three 
spheres, but are not specially labeled as part of the model. 
2.4.3 Actors 
According to Eichhorn (2005, 153), actors are the actually acting subjects. He distinguishes: 
1. Interest groups: These include all organized groups that do not belong to the political 
system in a narrow sense but that represent public interests. They bundle particular interests in 
society and reduce diversity. 
2. The mass media: The mass media are linked with other areas of society at an individual and 
organizational level. Their main functions are to provide information and social orientation. 
From the perceived reality, the journalist actively constructs a media reality which 1s 
codetermined by a multitude of individual and systemic factors. Media reality is a collective 
product that is determined by the participating individuals, organizations and their interactions 
as well as interaction with the environment. 
3. The active audience: Does not constitute a "group" in the group-sociological sense. 
Membership is defined by active participation in public opinion processes. In contrast to 
political actors or interest groups, the active audience cannot be subdivided into relatively 
homogeneous, organized units. 
4. The passive audience: Is the largest part of the audience, which usually remains politically 
passive and appears in statistics as bearers of the "public opinion". 
5. Political actors: Are representatives of the executive and legislative branches and are 
supposed to realize social goals and ideals. The determination of political priorities is 
influenced by the public opinion, and political actors in turn influence public opinion. 
2.4.4 Processes 
Eichhorn (2005, 155) understands processes as influence-taking among actors. In this model, 
four fundamental types of process are distinguished, which attempt to show the paths of 
influence among the individual actors. The fifth type of process, media reporting, 1s of special 
importance and is discussed in this chapter under the heading "The special role of the mass 
media". The term "influence" is always used in the sense of "influence on the issue structure": 


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