Power of public opinion essay

There is no reason that journalists cannot have a sizable role within media ecosystem based on sharing content, yet for this to succeed journalists must show the public the value of their experience and education Bruns, With the rise of media convergence modern-day society is exposed to the media more than any other previous generation. Better Essays words 3. Throughout history, women have been victims of dehumanization. Dehumanization is defined as the act of depriving a person of qualities such as individuality, compassion, or civility.

Realistically speaking, woman were not looked upon as individuals but as products within man made organizations Because of the internet and technological advances over the years, our access to the news has greatly increased. However, along with this comes the familiar issue of media distortion. In the beginning of the year, I decided to study the power of media in depth—specifically media bias and its influence on public opinion on current events. I chose the media as my subject not only because it affects all aspects of our lives, but also because many people can identify themselves with it, like me Better Essays words 4.

Whether we realize it or not, we do not go through one day without coming in contact with some form of media. Whether that be with our almost-too-smart smartphones, tablets, laptops, or televisions, we are more influenced by the media than we know. Everything from the latest fashion trends, to what we like to watch, read, and do is influenced by the media. Moreover, we are greatly influenced by media icons. We see these perfect, toned, beautiful people with Colgate smiles and chiseled features, and almost unconsciously; we want to be these people Better Essays words 3 pages.

Argument on Public Opinion Essay examples

Newspaper was the main source of new but in the 21st century news media comes in three type, print media, broadcast, and new media. This has allowed media to increase the efficiency of getting their information out to the public. During critical times in a year such as election season, the media determines what issue either domestic or global, is worthy to cover. It is an indirect means of subconsciously altering the mind sets of their viewers thus moulding society into their ideal consumer. Despite agreeing that this chemical attack on the Damascan suburbs was a war crime, the public was against U.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they opposed airstrikes, and only 29 percent were in favor.

Public Opinion and Elections

Democrats were especially opposed to military intervention. However, further examples show that presidents do not consistently listen to public opinion. After taking office in , President Obama did not order the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison, even though his proposal to do so had garnered support during the election.

President Bush , despite growing public disapproval for the war in Iraq, did not end military support in Iraq after And President Bill Clinton , whose White House pollsters were infamous for polling on everything, sometimes ignored the public if circumstances warranted. In , despite public opposition, Clinton guaranteed loans for the Mexican government to help the country out of financial insolvency. Individual examples like these make it difficult to persuasively identify the direct effects of public opinion on the presidency. While presidents have at most only two terms to serve and work, members of Congress can serve as long as the public returns them to office.

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We might think that for this reason public opinion is important to representatives and senators, and that their behavior, such as their votes on domestic programs or funding, will change to match the expectation of the public. In a more liberal time, the public may expect to see more social programs.


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In a non-liberal time, the public mood may favor austerity, or decreased government spending on programs. House of Representatives members, with a two-year term, have a more difficult time recovering from decisions that anger local voters. And because most representatives continually fundraise, unpopular decisions can hurt their campaign donations. For these reasons, it seems representatives should be susceptible to polling pressure. Yet one study, by James Stimson, found that the public mood does not directly affect elections, and shifts in public opinion do not predict whether a House member will win or lose.

These elections are affected by the president on the ticket, presidential popularity or lack thereof during a midterm election, and the perks of incumbency, such as name recognition and media coverage. In fact, a later study confirmed that the incumbency effect is highly predictive of a win, and public opinion is not. In spite of this, we still see policy shifts in Congress, often matching the policy preferences of the public. When the shifts happen within the House, they are measured by the way members vote.

The Senate is quite different from the House. Senators do not enjoy the same benefits of incumbency, and they win reelection at lower rates than House members. Yet, they do have one advantage over their colleagues in the House: Senators hold six-year terms, which gives them time to engage in fence-mending to repair the damage from unpopular decisions.

Specifically, the study shows that when public opinion shifts, fewer senators win reelection. Thus, when the public as a whole becomes more or less liberal, new senators are elected. Rather than the senators shifting their policy preferences and voting differently, it is the new senators who change the policy direction of the Senate.

The Power of Economics and Public Opinion

Beyond voter polls, congressional representatives are also very interested in polls that reveal the wishes of interest groups and businesses. If AARP , one of the largest and most active groups of voters in the United States, is unhappy with a bill, members of the relevant congressional committees will take that response into consideration. There is some disagreement about whether the Supreme Court follows public opinion or shapes it. The lifetime tenure the justices enjoy was designed to remove everyday politics from their decisions, protect them from swings in political partisanship, and allow them to choose whether and when to listen to public opinion.

When the justices accept controversial cases, the media tune in and ask questions, raising public awareness and affecting opinion. But do the justices pay attention to the polls when they make decisions? Studies that look at the connection between the Supreme Court and public opinion are contradictory. Early on, it was believed that justices were like other citizens: individuals with attitudes and beliefs who would be affected by political shifts.

Later studies argued that Supreme Court justices rule in ways that maintain support for the institution. Instead of looking at the short term and making decisions day to day, justices are strategic in their planning and make decisions for the long term. Other studies have revealed a more complex relationship between public opinion and judicial decisions, largely due to the difficulty of measuring where the effect can be seen. Some studies look at the number of reversals taken by the Supreme Court, which are decisions with which the Court overturns the decision of a lower court. In one study, the authors found that public opinion slightly affects cases accepted by the justices.

In a study looking at how often the justices voted liberally on a decision, a stronger effect of public opinion was revealed. Whether the case or court is currently in the news may also matter. A second study determined that public opinion is more likely to affect ignored cases than heavily reported ones. In these situations, the court was also more likely to rule with the majority opinion than against it.

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For example, in Town of Greece v. Galloway , a majority of the justices decided that ceremonial prayer before a town meeting was not a violation of the Establishment Clause. The fact that 78 percent of U. Overall, however, it is clear that public opinion has a less powerful effect on the courts than on the other branches and on politicians. Public opinion polls have some effect on politics, most strongly during election season. Candidates who do well in polls receive more media coverage and campaign donations than candidates who fare poorly. The effect of polling on government institutions is less clear.

Presidents sometimes consider polls when making decisions, especially if the polls reflect high approval. A president who has an electoral mandate can use that high public approval rating to push policies through Congress.


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  • Congress is likely to be aware of public opinion on issues. Representatives must continually raise campaign donations for bi-yearly elections. For this reason, they must keep their constituents and donors happy.

    Representatives are also likely to change their voting behavior if public opinion changes. Senators have a longer span between elections, which gives them time to make decisions independent of opinion and then make amends with their constituents. It is less clear whether Supreme Court justices rule in ways that maintain the integrity of the branch or that keep step with the majority opinion of the public, but public approval of the court can change after high-profile decisions.