Public Opinion &MediaCh 4-5-6
Political CulturePolitical Culture:Widely shared (throughout the whole community) beliefs, values, and norms concerning the relationship of citizens to the government and to one anotherAnswers: What is?Proposes: What ought to be.Provides: Emotional connections, symbols, etc.
Political CulturePolitical Ideology:Beliefs, values and norms concerning the relationship of citizens to the government and to one another shared by members of a political movement or sub-group, but not by the whole society
Examples: Republican Party, Democratic Party, Arian Nations, Green Peace, etc.
Political CulturePolitical SocializationThe process of developing political attitudes, values and beliefsInstitutions of SocializationThe groups, practices, and systems that convey and inculcate the values of political culture to rising generations and new membersExamples: FAMILY, friends, school, churches, media, Boy Scouts, Jobs Daughters, soccer leagues, service clubs, etc.
Public OpinionPublic Opinion: attitudes of the population towards public institutions, public figures, and current eventsFormation of Individual OpinionsDrawn from life experiencesEducation, wealth, race, geography, gender, etc.Built through socializationFamily, school, friends, media, political parties, churches, service clubs, etc.
Public OpinionCleavagesWe can generally predict how most individuals in broad categories will view issuesInfluenced by:RaceAgeGeographyEducationReligionOccupationEtc.
Public OpinionCleavagesCross-Cutting CleavageWhen a persons background puts them in different camps depending on the issueMutually Reinforcing CleavageWhen a persons background puts them in the same camp with the same friends and enemies over all or most issues
Public OpinionCleavagesCross-Cutting CleavageTempers conflictEngenders compromiseEnables stable democratic decision-making
Common in US and most advanced industrial societies and in ALL stable democracies
Public OpinionCleavages Mutually Reinforcing CleavageStrengthens political differencesReduces the incentive to compromiseLeaves people seeing all-or-none outcomesMay lead to political violenceMakes democracy difficult
Race in America, esp. Black, urban, poorHispanic, rural farm-working poor?
MediaAmerican News Media:Make-upTVRadioNewsprint / mainstream web-based newsBlogs, fringe media, etc.-- (Which do you use most)Is Print Preferable?
MediaIs Print Preferable?Less Bias??More accurate??Who decides what to read and how much??Time to analyze and question?
Who is in the drivers seat?
MediaHistorical press role 1790s Party PapersTechnological/economic reasonsDevelopment of professional mediaPenny PressAdvertisingUnbiased mediaProfessional reporters / editors Professional standards
MediaMedia Bias v Professional, Unbiased Media
Media self-perceptionUnbiased watchdogFairReporting just facts
Is this realistic?What about their intentions?
MediaMedia Incentive: the Profit MotiveWhat drives reporting choices?What drives style?Results:Horse RaceScandalSound bitesExit polls
MediaMedia Bias?Liberal Press?Content analysis shows liberal biasLiberal media and academic conspiracyReporters are all liberalsCorporate Press?Content analysis shows conservative (pro-business) biasAll major media owned by large corporationsNever offend advertisersVast right-wing conspiracy
MediaMedia Bias?From the Right: Liberal Press!!From the Left: Corporate, Conservative Press!!
Reality?Both exist, some liberal, some conservative, some centrist You chose where you get your info
Medias Impact on Public OpinionDoes media determine how you think?How others think?
Partly:Media as GatekeeperMedia as WatchdogMedia as Institution of Socialization
Media and Public OpinionDoes media determine how you think?NoSelection BiasWe only read or watch sources that reinforce our own viewsPerception BiasEven when we read or watch messages that contradict our view, we tend to miss or ignore the contradictions