Constructing Public Opinion

View Segments Segment :

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Embed
  • Link
  • Help
  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Embed
  • Link
  • Help
Successfully saved clip
Find all your clips in My Lists
Failed to save clip
  • Transcript
  • Transcript

    Auto-Scroll: ONOFF 
    • 00:10

      [MUSIC RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, "TESTIFY"]

    • 00:14

      GEORGE W. BUSH: Invest your money for the future.

    • 00:16

      AL GORE: Invest in the future.

    • 00:18

      GEORGE W. BUSH: They've been talking about clean air.

    • 00:19

      AL GORE: We've got to clean up our air.

    • 00:21

      GEORGE W. BUSH: I support a ban on soft money.

    • 00:23

      AL GORE: We will get all of the soft money out of the campaign.

    • 00:26

      GEORGE W. BUSH: God bless you.

    • 00:27

      AL GORE: God bless you.[MUSIC RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, "TESTIFY"]

    • 01:14

      JUSTIN LEWIS: One of the most important beliefsthat people have about politiciansis that politicians do whatever polls tell them to do.We hear a lot of complaint about the lack of strong leadership.That politicians find out what the public wants and then theypander to it, or at least they say they'll pander to it.Now, what this idea of the poll driven politician creates

    • 01:35

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: is the impression that the political system mayhave all kinds of problems, but on the whole,it's responsive and accountable to the public.But once you actually start to look at public opinionin a more detailed way, what you discoveris that the idea of the poll pandering politicianis really a myth.For example, there's broad support

    • 01:56

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: in the US for a whole range of policies.Polls show that most people supportincrease spending on inner cities,more spending and regulation on the environment,more spending on education, more spending on health care.We also find that majority support increasesin the minimum wage, stricter gun control, and campaign

    • 02:18

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: finance reform.In other words, if politicians really were poll driven,then they'd be in favor of a whole range of liberal or leftwing policies, when in fact they're not.Now, the question that is raises in a democracyis, how is this mismatch between whatthe people want and the policies pursuedby their representatives possible?

    • 02:40

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING]Now let's look at what the terms liberal, left wing,and conservative, right wing, standfor in terms of the role of the government in the economy.Liberals believe that government intervention

    • 03:01

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: is needed to protect the rights of all individualsin the community, while conservatives believethat individuals are best served by minimizing governmentintervention.So in general, liberalism is associated with high spendingon social programs like education or health,care and conservativism is associatedwith low spending on social programs.

    • 03:23

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Now, what's interesting is that, whenyou look at public opinion, you find that people are oftenin support of vague conservative themes,but when you ask them about specific policies,than they tend to shift away from abstract notionslike individual freedom and instead theysupport policies which require government spendingor regulation.

    • 03:43

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: For example, a Harris poll asked peopleabout the regulation of private property.They asked whether the government shouldhave the right to regulate or whether that right shouldbe left solely up to the property owner.Now, in response to this very vague question thatpitches individual freedom against government regulation,you find only 38% support government intervention.

    • 04:05

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: But when the poll asks the same question in a specific contextof regulating private property to protect the environment,everything changes and an overwhelming majoritynow support government regulation.So why do people support conservative ideasbut liberal policies?Well, in part, it has to do with the misleading nature

    • 04:27

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: of labels.Polls show that large numbers of peopleprefer the label moderate to liberal or conservative.

    • 04:34

      SPEAKER 1: Among the biggest news from our exitpolling on Tuesday was that the electorate hasa more moderate cast than it has in recent years.Take a look at the numbers.In 1994, 45% of the voters called themselves moderates,but this year that number is 50%.

    • 04:50

      JUSTIN LEWIS: Now, in media discourse,the word moderate usually has very positive connotations.Moderates are good, extremists are bad.So really it's not surprising that most peopleprefer that label.At the same time, many people whoare well to the left of the mainstream on a range of issuesare also really quite suspicious of the label liberal.So, for example, on economic issues,

    • 05:11

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: you find that blue collar workerssupport what you could call liberal policies,but they're often very skeptical about peoplewho call themselves liberals.Again, that's because of the way the phrase liberalis used in the media, where liberals are generallyportrayed as being affluent rather than working classand as being progressive on civil libertiesrather than on bottom line economic issues.

    • 05:35

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Labels aside, when you look at a range of public positionswhere there's majority support on an issue, when people aregiving a conservative response, like support for the deathpenalty, then you'll find that opinion very well representedin government.But when people are giving more liberal responses on issues,then they're often actually to the leftof most Democrats in Congress or the White House.

    • 05:55

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: In other words, on economic issues in particular,the public are often further to the leftor more liberal than the people whoare supposed to represent them.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 06:17

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Now, the kinds of issues where there is some real differencebetween mainstream politicians arein terms of what we might call civil liberties.And the defining thing here is that moneyisn't central to how you think about them.So on issues like abortion, or the death penalty,or gay rights, there are very real differencesbetween Democrats and Republicans.

    • 06:35

      SPEAKER 2: The Texas governor acknowledges for the first timetoday that the conservative judgeshe would appoint to the US Supreme Courtsmight try to overturn the landmark abortion rightsdecision in Roe v. Wade.

    • 06:47

      JUSTIN LEWIS: Now the reason for thisis that these issues often don't involve money.But on economic issues like health care, or wages,or the environment, then you findthat Republicans and Democrats are really very close together.And when it comes to raising money,then these economic issues are vitally important,because politicians have to raise huge amounts of moneyjust to get elected.

    • 07:09

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Most ordinary people don't contributeto political campaigns.Instead, that money comes from a very small groupof wealthy people.

    • 07:17

      SPEAKER 3: There are 45 co-chairmen herewho raised or gave 250,000.Those co-chairmen include the NRA and Phillip Morris.Other key players represent the HMOs.

    • 07:28

      JUSTIN LEWIS: But the Democrats and the Republicansget most of their money from corporate interests,and in order to keep raising campaign funds,politicians have to support policiesthat favor those business interests.Now, politicians who aren't prepared to heed those moreconservative voices are really unlikely to raise enough moneyto be viable, so the left wing or very liberal candidates

    • 07:50

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: tend to be weeded out before they can evermake it to the ballot.In the 2000 democratic primary, for example,the only candidates able to raise enough moneyto be competitive were Bradley and Gore,who were both moderate rather than liberal Democrats.Now, repeated studies have shown that corporate interestsare economically conservative.They tend to put making a profit above social community

    • 08:13

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: concerns, like the environment, or public education,or access to health care, or homelessness.So while the general public support community concerns,politicians are likely to ignore those kinds of opinions,because there's very little money in it for them.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 08:42

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: So, how do we explain this contradiction between the myththat politicians reflect the public and the realitythat on most economic issues theyactually ignore public opinion?Well, let's look at how the news media covers public opinion.When the media report on polls, what they're actually doingis telling a story about what public opinion israther than just reflecting it.

    • 09:02

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: They're constructing how we understand public opinion.And the news media have a lot of powerhere, because they choose what questions to askand what questions not to ask.Ordinary people's opinions usually only count in as muchas they respond to that conversation.When Washington was focused on alleged scandals in the ClintonWhite House, then that's what many pollsters asked questions

    • 09:24

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: about, even though many people stated in those pollsthat they were actually much moreconcerned about other things.One of the issues that in recent years peoplehave said they're most concerned about is education.Now, if you read the polling data on this issue,you'll find that most people tendto think that more money should be spent on public education.But when the networks did their own reports on education,

    • 09:45

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: they often ignore the issue of spending.So, for example, ABC began a report on educationby saying that people cared about it.

    • 09:52

      SPEAKER 4: As we said at the beginning of this week,in virtually every poll that triesto measure the state of public opinion,the public says that education isone of the country's most important issues.This week--

    • 10:03

      JUSTIN LEWIS: But the story they tell usis about a school that has done well without increasedspending.

    • 10:08

      SPEAKER 4: Tonight, a closer look at one schoolthat is turning itself around without having a lot of money.

    • 10:13

      JUSTIN LEWIS: We then hear the various improvementsthe principal of this school has inspired.The implicit sentiment here is directly opposedto what public opinion tells us.People say they want more money spent on education.ABC is telling us that money isn't the answer.The next question we should ask is, does the media coverageof public opinion recognize the gap between a public that

    • 10:35

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: on economic issues tends to be pretty liberal and mainstreampoliticians, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, whohold conservative views on those issues.And the answer is a very clear no,because when you closely examine the way the mediareport on public opinion, you findthat the left wing or liberal side of itmore or less disappears.This makes the public appear to be

    • 10:56

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: more conservative than it really is.Now, there's lots of reasons for this, the major onebeing what we call the elite-oriented natureof reporting.Not everyone has the same access to news makers,the people with the most access to the mediaare powerful political figures, because the news mediatend to define politics in terms of the words

    • 11:17

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: and deeds of politicians, not on public opinion.I call politicians elites in as muchas they have a lot more power, and control, and moneythan the average citizen, because theyset the stage for what we talk about and how.Now, since politicians are much more conservativethan the public, and the media take their leadfrom these conservative politicians,the poll reporting by the media tends

    • 11:39

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: to replicate elite agendas.As we've seen, this agenda placescorporate financial interests above citizen preferences.The most prominent way that happensis through media coverage of whatwe might call horse race politics.Trying to figure out which politicianis going to win an election, who's popular, and who's not.Now, when responding to polls like these,

    • 11:60

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: people can only reply with simple, brief answers.There's no room to give complex answers, no wayto shift the terms of the debate to sayhow neither politician really reflects the person's views.The problem with candidate-centered pollsis that people are steered into givingan opinion about a mainstream politician,and this implies that they're endorsing not only one or other

    • 12:21

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: of the main politicians on offer,but the policies those politicians are supporting.In fact, because the media spend very little timeactually telling us what those policies are,most people are really expressing little morethan an opinion about a loosely constructed image rather thana well-understood political program.So these horse race polls actually

    • 12:42

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: tell us very little about what people want,but their prominence in media discoursemakes it appear that people are more or less in linewith their political representatives.This perception would be much moredifficult to sustain if the media looked closelyat public opinion on policy preferences.Examining an issue like health carewould make it explicit that public opinion is really

    • 13:04

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: at odds with the opinions of the main presidential candidates.Instead of rocking the boat, the mediaforce people to side with those candidatesby the questions it asks.So when an NBC report shows a brief glimpseinto public unhappiness with the current health caresystem, the popular alternative, a single payer health caresystem, which is a non for profit system

    • 13:24

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: with universal coverage, is never discussed.

    • 13:27

      SPEAKER 5: 79-year-old Eleanor Chapinbelongs to a different HMO in Kentucky,which recently tripled her premium.She sees these questionable expensesas a waste of her tax dollars.

    • 13:38

      JUSTIN LEWIS: We only hear what political elites have to say.

    • 13:41

      SPEAKER 5: Gore's solution, a more modest planto provide health insurance for children.

    • 13:45

      JUSTIN LEWIS: The single payer optionis so completely excluded from discussionthat when the news media do discuss solutions,they're always in the context of existing, private insurance,market-based systems that leave millions of Americanswithout health coverage.And this is how the media coverageleaves the current profit-based corporations,and the politicians who back them, at center stage.

    • 14:06

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Another implication of this focuson candidates and not issues is that the mediacreate the impression that the American public hasa real choice.You can choose Bush or you can choose Gore, the implicationbeing that they're both very different.But on substantive budgetary or economic issues,the differences between them are really on the margins.Both leading Democrats and Republicans

    • 14:28

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: support the privatized health care system,they support corporate-backed global trade agreements,they support maintaining a Cold War defense budget,and they generally favor the interests of big business.But the media give the impressionthat Democrats and Republicans representa broad range of opinion by focusingon civil liberty, non-monetary issues,

    • 14:49

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: like gay rights or abortion, where Democrats and Republicansreally do differ.And this masks the degree of a lead consensus.The other way in which public opinionis narrowed to fit elite agendas is much more subtle.Polls frequently ask people which issue they care about,and when these get reported on, the mediadon't really explore any further.

    • 15:10

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: They don't ask, why do people care about this issueand what policies do they support.CBS reported a poll on traffic congestion.

    • 15:19

      SPEAKER 6: Crime has been replaced by traffic congestionas the most important local issue,according to a poll out this week.

    • 15:25

      JUSTIN LEWIS: One reason for so much traffic congestion in UScities is that many mass transit rail systems since the 1950shave been either ripped up or left to wither away,and this happened despite high levels of public supportfor public transit and rail systems.Now, polls suggest people want the choice of rail and roads,not just roads.

    • 15:45

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Public opinion, in other words, leads ustowards a long term solution to traffic congestion.But the CBS report ignores this long term and popular solution,because serious investment in public transportationis not on Washington's agenda.Instead, they focus on new tracking deviceswhich might, at some unspecified date in the future,give people information about traffic jams.

    • 16:08

      SPEAKER 7: His invention uses monitorsatop already existing cellphone towers.When drivers talk on their phones,the device tracks the signal, whichshows how fast the traffic is flowing.

    • 16:19

      JUSTIN LEWIS: Again, Washington, spurredon by big interests like the auto industry,have only one response to traffic congestion,and that's to build more roads.So public support for rapid urban transitis simply not discussed.Instead, the only polls we do getare about how much people love their cars.

    • 16:36

      SPEAKER 8: According to a recent Gallup poll, 42% of Americanssay they would consider buying an SUV, and those who own themnow love them.73% of people who already own SUVs say their next carwill be another SUV.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 17:01

      JUSTIN LEWIS: Most people are actuallyquite cynical about the influence of money in politics,and although the media do report this cynicism,it gets muted by a sense that the political system doesmore or less represent the people,and that contained within it is the full rangeof the political spectrum.So the assumption is that politics covers the broad rangeof opinion from left to right, or

    • 17:22

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: from liberal to conservative, where the Democrats areon the left and the Republicans are on the right.Now, as we've seen, that's not really true,because the influence of money skews elite politiciansto the right so that the Democrats, whoin any other country will be regarded as centrist in termsof economic policies, are perceived as being left wing.

    • 17:44

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: In fact, there no longer is a left wing in Washington,and yet the media continues to cover politicsas if it's a battle between left and right.Take a Democratic president like Bill Clinton.Now, it's very broadly agreed that Clintonhails from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party,and through his two terms, he pursued an economic agendathat was really very much in line

    • 18:06

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: with his Republican predecessor.In fact, his adviser, Dick Morris,boasted that he had remade Clintoninto a moderate Republican, and throughout his two terms,Clinton supported conservative trade policieslike NAFTA and GAT, that corporations were very muchin favor, and that labor and public opinion opposed.And yet, throughout his two terms,

    • 18:27

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: the media consistently portrayed Clintonas representing the left or liberal side of politics.And the news media leads people to makeall sorts of incorrect assumptions,and to assume that as a Democrat,he must also support liberal economic policiesand positions.Clinton supported the 1996 Telecommunications Act,which was strongly supported by big businessand opposed by most left leaning public interest groups.

    • 18:50

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: And yet, most people thought he took the public interest lineand opposed it rather than the big business positionthat he actually adopted.

    • 18:57

      SPEAKER 9: Today, when President Clintonsigned the Telecommunications Act of 1996,he ushered in a complete revision of communication lawa written 62 years ago.

    • 19:07

      JUSTIN LEWIS: The same is true of his positionon a treaty that would have banned the use of land mines.Few people knew or guessed that hetook the conservative position of refusing to sign it,while as many as 44% of the publicactually thought he'd taken a liberal positionand supported it.

    • 19:24

      SPEAKER 10: More than 100 nations today endorsed a treatyto ban anti-personnel land mines.The United States declined.

    • 19:32

      JUSTIN LEWIS: The same is true of health care reform.The public, almost 60% of them, actuallyassumed that he had supported the more liberal single payerhealth care system.So when it came time to place himin terms of the Democratic Party as a whole,even though he's been connected with the conservative wingof the Democrats for many years, a majority of the public, 51%,

    • 19:54

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: regard him as a liberal rather than a moderate or conservativeDemocrat.Now, all of these issues were, to a greater or lesser extent,covered by the media.But research suggests that when it comes to news,most people actually don't pay much attention to specifics.Instead, they're guided by the general framework of newscoverage, and in those frameworks,

    • 20:15

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Democrats represent liberal ideas, and the Republicans,conservative ones.You might say that Clinton may not have been liberal,but he played one on TV.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 20:36

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: We've looked at how the media cover public opinion.But to what extent do they influence that opinion?Well, media influence on public opinionhas been studied for many years now.We know, for example, that the media oftenplay what's called an agenda setting role.Public concern about issues tendsto follow media coverage of those issuesrather than any changes in the real world.

    • 20:58

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: A few years ago, the degradation of the environment,issues like global warming, destruction of wilderness,and chronic air, water, and soil pollution,started to get a fair amount of media coverage.Accordingly, polls suggested thiswas one of the most important issues for most people.But then the news media started to lose interest,and even though most of the environmental problems

    • 21:20

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: have actually become worse since then,polls show public concern decreasing.Or take an issue like drugs.Over the last two decades, public concern about drugshas gone from 3% to over 50% and back to 3% in polls,and those shifts have absolutely nothingto do with the scale of the problem, and everything

    • 21:42

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: to do with the volume of media coverage.The power of the media to define what issues are seenas important has to do with the relationship between whatthe media report and what they don't.Media influence in this sense is subtle but profound.The media can help shape or modifywhat we know about an issue.Take something like the military budget, for example.

    • 22:03

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Now, how the public thinks about the military budgetis very important, because military spending in the USis huge.It's the biggest discretionary area of the federal budget.In terms of direct payments, this amounts to $300 billiona year being spent on the military sector.That's more than the entire economyof most countries in the world.And the scale of it in comparison

    • 22:24

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: with what other nations spend on the military is staggering.The United States spends five times as muchon the military as the next biggestspender, which is Russia.Now, if most of the other big military spenders in the worldwere unfriendly to the US, this might be understandable,but in fact, most of the other big military powersare actually US allies.In other words, if the US spent nothing at all on defense,

    • 22:48

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: the balance of power would still be stacked in the US' favor.Now, if you accept the argument that the function of allthis military spending is to keep the United States safe,then you have to think about the size of the potential threat.The State Department has identified seven countriesas the most likely enemies.Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan.

    • 23:12

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: Now, the idea that all these countries wouldgo to war simultaneously with the US is almost unimaginable,but even if you add the military budgets of all these countriestogether, the United States out spends themby a factor of 18 to one.And if you include the budget of the close US allies in that,these seven potential enemies are outspent by more than 33

    • 23:34

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: to one.Now, many people would argue that this level of spendingis entirely disproportionate to the level of risk,and that Americans are actually much more at riskfrom things like lack of health insurance, or pollution,or acts of domestic terrorism, or domestic violence,or long term threats like global warming.And that the US' capacity to deal with these more

    • 23:57

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: tangible threats is severely limited by devotingso much money and so many resources to the military.Now, research suggests that when you actuallyask people to allocate proportions of the budgetto various programs, they tend to switch spendingfrom the military to things like education and the environment.And yet there's very little outcry

    • 24:17

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: about the sheer volume of military spending.And one of the key reasons for thatis that most people simply don't knowhow their tax dollars are being spent.A survey during the 1992 presidential electionasked people about the size of various areasof the federal budget.And over 70% said that more money was spent on foreign aid

    • 24:39

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: or on welfare than the military.Now, in reality, the military budgetis so much bigger than the other two.In another poll taken in May of 1999,people were asked whether the US was the world's largestmilitary power, and nearly half said that it wasn't.Now, given that the US is actuallynumber one five times over, that's

    • 25:00

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: a pretty remarkable response.The media's role here is less a matterof misinformation than a matter of omission.Information about the size of the military budgetmaybe part of the public record, but most peopleare unaware of it because the media nevergive us those kinds of comparative figures.So the fact that people believe the military budget is much

    • 25:21

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: smaller than it may be is wrong, but it's a rational responseto the information the media have made available.When NBC News did a preview of Clinton's last stateof the Union Address in the year 2000,they referred to his proposed increase of $3 billionin education spending, but made no mentionat all of military spending creases that were several times

    • 25:42

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: as big as that.When the media do report on military spending,it's mostly in the context of declines in the budget.If we take our baseline as the 1970s, the Cold War was ragingand military spending was seen asnecessary to counter the perceived communist threat.When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980,he increased spending to record levels.

    • 26:03

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: So the declines in the '90s have onlyreally brought us back to Cold War spending in the 1970s.So now we have a Cold War budget with no Cold War.If you actually listen to the way leaders like George W. Bushjustify these levels of spending and actually increasing it,they are unable to talk about anythingother than a vague, unknown enemy.

    • 26:24

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: We don't know who they are, but they're out there somewhere.It's hard to imagine any other form of spending restingon such a feeble promise.If we cut the military budget even to be, say, twice as largeas the next biggest military spender,we'd still be around eight times bigger than our seven enemiescombined, and we'd save around $180 billion.

    • 26:47

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: The budget would still be clearly large enoughto protect America militarily, but we could alsothink about protecting Americans in other ways too.Imagine all Americans being coveredfor free by a universally accessible health care system,no matter what their income is, or students leaving collegewithout any loans to pay back whatsoever,or people being able to travel around

    • 27:08

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: the country on an affordable, efficient, and convenient railsystem.All of these will be easily achievableif you shifted priorities to the programs Americansactually most support.But we're not encouraged to think in these ways,because we don't have the correct information.So the overall effect of media omissionsis to suppress active public support

    • 27:28

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: for changing the current course.And it's hard to get upset about the proportionsof public resources going through the militaryif you have no idea what those proportions are.

    • 27:49

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: It's interesting to look back and see what people thoughtpolls would be used for when theywere the first being developed.For instance, when George Gallup beganto refine and to develop the art of public opinionpolling in the first half the 20th century,he saw it as the dawn of a more democratic era.For him, the technology of the opinion pollmeant that the public's input into the political process

    • 28:12

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: wouldn't be limited any longer to an election every few years.Political elites could actually acton the basis of what the people saidthey wanted on quite specific issues.Now, nearly a century later, we livein a poll-saturated culture.And the question is, has that democratic visionbeen realized?Are politicians responsive to real public concerns?

    • 28:34

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: And unfortunately, I think the evidenceis that, rather than being a mechanism for extendingdemocracy, public opinion polls are used and reportedin highly selective ways that matchthe agenda of political elites.When politicians do use polls, it'snot because they want to act upon that information.They use it as a kind of market research which

    • 28:55

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: allows them to focus on those pieces of their programsthat are popular and strategicallyignore those that are not.It's a bit like the way the car industry dealswith market research that shows that people are concernedabout the environment, on cleaner air, and so on.Rather than promoting more environmentally friendly cars,they tried to ease our concern with endless images of cars

    • 29:16

      JUSTIN LEWIS [continued]: in pristine environment.And until the media start using public opinionto challenge the Washington Consensus based on big money,it's hard to see how anything will change.[MUSIC RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, "KNOW YOUR ENEMY"]

Constructing Public Opinion

View Segments Segment :

Unique ID: bd-meco-docu-cpo-AA00561



Abstract

In this documentary, "Constructing Public Opinion", Justin Lewis describes the misconception that politicians do whatever the polls tell them too. Highlighted in this video are the political perceptions, the economic forces, media coverage, the military omissions, and democratic ideals. Lewis takes us in depth on the common misconceptions and the way the media perceives these politicians. Also described in this documentary are the differences between liberals and conservatives and the common fallacies between the two.

Constructing Public Opinion

In this documentary, "Constructing Public Opinion", Justin Lewis describes the misconception that politicians do whatever the polls tell them too. Highlighted in this video are the political perceptions, the economic forces, media coverage, the military omissions, and democratic ideals. Lewis takes us in depth on the common misconceptions and the way the media perceives these politicians. Also described in this documentary are the differences between liberals and conservatives and the common fallacies between the two.

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website

Back to Top