Public Opinion

By Carroll J. Glynn; Susan Herbst et al. | Go to book overview

More recent, and perhaps less important, controversies have grown over such issues as the amount of live television coverage given the national party nominating conventions and that accorded to debates between presidential candidates. Many journalists would argue that these are simply news judgments: If something of public interest is expected to happen at such an event, it will be covered. The political viewpoint is that there is an obligation of the press to cover major national events, even if the outcomes are easily predictable and nothing "new" is anticipated to happen. As political scientist Thomas Patterson notes, the press is "fundamentally ill-suited to fulfilling its inherited role as an election mediator. . . . The problem is that the press is not a political institution. Its business is news, and the values of news are not those of politics.x" 41

Resolution of these conflicts is highly unlikely, but much can be gained by greater public awareness of the contrasts among (1) the realities of the political environment, (2) the image of the environment that campaigns present, and (3) the image of that environment that the press presents. In sum, the call is for public awareness that the media in their varied shapes and forms provide varied "pictures in our heads" of an environment we do not directly experience, as Lippmann put it so well. 42


Notes
1.
Everett M. Rogers and J. Douglas Storey, "Communication Campaigns," in Charles R. Berger and Steven H. Chaffee, eds., Handbook of Communication Science (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1987), p. 821.
2.
Philip Kotler and Eduardo L. Roberto, Social Marketing. Strategies for Changing Public Behavior ( New York: Free Press, 1989).
3.
June A. Flora, Nathan Maccoby, and John W. Farquhar, "Communication Campaigns to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: The Stanford Community Studies," in Ronald Rice and Charles Atkin, eds., Public Communication Campaigns, 2d ed. (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1989), pp. 233-252.
4.
Rogers and Storey, "Communication Campaigns"; Garrett J. O'Keefe and Kathaleen Reid, "The Uses and Effects of Public Service Advertising," James Grunig and Larissa Grunig, eds., Public Relations Research Annual, vol. 2 ( Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990), pp. 67-94.
5.
Jean Baudrillard, "Consumer Society," in Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings ( Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 29-56.
6.
Leo Bogart, Commercial Culture: The Media System and the Public Interest ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).
7.
Charles T. Salmon, "Campaigns and Social 'Improvement': An Overview of Values, Rationales, and Impacts," in Charles T. Salmon, ed., Information Campaigns: Balancing Social Values and Social Change (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1989), pp. 19-53.
8.
David Paletz, Roberta Pearson, and David Willis, Politics in Public Service Advertising on Television ( New York: Springer, 1977).

-445-

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Public Opinion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xv
  • Part One - Introducing Public Opinion 1
  • Chapter One - The Meanings of Public Opinion 3
  • Notes 30
  • Chapter Two - The History of Public Opinion 62
  • Chapter Three - Methods for Studying Public Opinion 65
  • Conclusion 99
  • Notes 99
  • Part Two - Theories of Public Opinion 101
  • Chapter Four - Psychological Perspectives 103
  • Notes 139
  • Chapter Five - Sociological Perspectives 145
  • Conclusion 171
  • Notes 172
  • Chapter Six - Perception and Opinion Formation 207
  • Chapter Seven - Basic Beliefs, Democratic Theory, and Public Opinion 212
  • Conclusion 242
  • Notes 243
  • Part Three - Public Opinion in Context 247
  • Chapter Eight - Public Opinion and Democratic Competence 249
  • Conclusion 291
  • Notes 292
  • Chapter Nine - Public Opinion and Policymaking 299
  • Conclusion 335
  • Notes 336
  • Chapter Ten - The Content of Our Attitudes: Public Opinion in the Contemporary United States 341
  • Conclusion 376
  • Notes 377
  • Chapter Eleven - Communicating with the Public 412
  • Chapter Twelve - Campaigning and Opinion Change 445
  • Chapter Thirteen - Looking Ahead 451
  • Index 453
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