Related content The media fulfils an important role in shaping, amplifying and responding to public attitudes toward poverty. This study, part of the Public Interest in Poverty Issues programme, explores the role of national, local and community media in reflecting and influencing public ideas of poverty and welfare. The research aimed to: Summary Summary This study examines the relationship between the UK media and public ideas of poverty.
See Article History Public opinion, an aggregate of the individual views, attitudes, and beliefs about a particular topic, expressed by a significant proportion of a community.
Some scholars treat the aggregate as a synthesis of the views of all or a certain segment of society; others regard it as a collection of many differing or opposing views. Writing inthe American sociologist Charles Horton Cooley emphasized public opinion as a process of interaction and mutual influence rather than a state of broad agreement.
The American political scientist V. The influence of public opinion is not restricted to politics and elections. It is a powerful force in many other spheres, such as culturefashion, literature and the arts, consumer spending, and marketing and public relations.
Contrasting understandings of public opinion have taken shape over the centuries, especially as new methods of measuring public opinion have been applied to politics, commerce, religionand social activism.
Political scientists and some historians have tended to emphasize the role of public opinion in government and politics, paying particular attention to its influence on the development of government policy. Indeed, some political scientists have regarded public opinion as equivalent to the national will.
In such a limited sense, however, there can be only one public opinion on an issue at any given time. Sociologistsin contrast, usually conceive of public opinion as a product of social interaction and communication. According to this view, there can be no public opinion on an issue unless members of the public communicate with each other.
Even if their individual opinions are quite similar to begin with, their beliefs will not constitute a public opinion until they are conveyed to others in some form, whether through print media, radio, television, the Internet, or telephone or face-to-face conversation. Sociologists also point to the possibility of there being many different public opinions on a given issue at the same time.
Although one body of opinion may dominate or reflect government policy, for example, this does not preclude the existence of other organized bodies of opinion on political topics.
The sociological approach also recognizes the importance of public opinion in areas that have little or nothing to do with government. The very nature of public opinion, according to the American researcher Irving Crespiis to be interactive, multidimensional, and continuously changing.
Thus, fads and fashions are appropriate subject matter for students of public opinion, as are public attitudes toward celebrities or corporations.
Nearly all scholars of public opinion, regardless of the way they may define it, agree that, in order for a phenomenon to count as public opinion, at least four conditions must be satisfied: Politicians and publicists, for example, seek ways to influence voting and purchasing decisions, respectively—hence their wish to determine any attitudes and opinions that may affect the desired behaviour.
It is often the case that opinions expressed in public differ from those expressed in private. Some views—even though widely shared—may not be expressed at all. Thus, in a totalitarian state, a great many people may be opposed to the government but may fear to express their attitudes even to their families and friends.
In such cases, an antigovernment public opinion necessarily fails to develop. Historical background Antiquity Although the term public opinion was not used until the 18th century, phenomena that closely resemble public opinion seem to have occurred in many historical epochs.
The ancient histories of Babylonia and Assyria, for example, contain references to popular attitudes, including the legend of a caliph who would disguise himself and mingle with the people to hear what they said about his governance.
The prophets of ancient Israel sometimes justified the policies of the government to the people and sometimes appealed to the people to oppose the government.
In both cases, they were concerned with swaying the opinion of the crowd. And in the classical democracy of Athens, it was commonly observed that everything depended on the people, and the people were dependent on the word. Wealth, fame, and respect—all could be given or taken away by persuading the populace.
By contrast Plato found little of value in public opinion, since he believed that society should be governed by philosopher-kings whose wisdom far exceeded the knowledge and intellectual capabilities of the general population.
Phenomena much like public opinion, however, could still be observed among the religious, intellectual, and political elite. Religious disputations, the struggles between popes and the Holy Roman Empireand the dynastic ambitions of princes all involved efforts to persuade, to create a following, and to line up the opinions of those who counted.
From the end of the 13th century, the ranks of those who could be drawn into controversy regarding current affairs grew steadily. The general level of education of the lay population gradually increased.
The rise of humanism in Italy led to the emergence of a group of writers whose services were eagerly sought by princes striving to consolidate their domains. Some of these writers served as advisers and diplomats; others were employed as publicists because of their rhetorical skills.
The 16th-century Italian writer Pietro Aretino —of whom it was said that he knew how to defame, to threaten, and to flatter better than all others—was sought by both Charles V of Spain and Francis I of France. The invention of printing from movable type in the 15th century and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th further increased the numbers of people able to hold and express informed opinions on contemporary issues.
The German priest and scholar Martin Luther broke with the humanists by abandoning the use of Classical Latin, which was intelligible only to the educated, and turned directly to the masses.
His vituperative style and the criticism he received from his many opponents, both lay and clerical, contributed to the formation of larger and larger groups holding opinions on important matters of the day. Opinions were also swayed by means of speeches, sermons, and face-to-face discussions.
Not surprisingly, some civil and religious authorities attempted to control the dissemination of unwelcome ideas through increasingly strict censorship. Charles IX of France decreed in that nothing could be printed without the special permission of the king.
More quietly but more significantly, other means of distributing information were becoming a common part of life.Public opinion consists of the desires, wants, and thinking of the majority of the people; it is the collective opinion of the people of a society or state on an issue or problem.
This concept came about through the process of urbanization and . The Telecommunications Act deregulated media and communications, accelerating the trends of concentration (one company owning multiple media sources in a region) and cross-ownership (one company owning several media outlets in a region), and giving rise to media conglomerates such as Viacom.
The media fulfils an important role in shaping, amplifying and responding to public attitudes toward poverty. This study, part of the Public Interest in Poverty Issues programme, explores the role of national, local and community media in reflecting and influencing public ideas of poverty and welfare.
There is substantial evidence that media sources have identifiable political slants, but there has been relatively little rigorous study into the impact of media on political views and behaviors. IPA designed a natural field experiment to measure the effect of exposure to newspapers on political behavior and opinion.
The presence of a liberal and conservative paper serving the same region creates an opportunity to study the effect of media slant in a natural setting within a single population, which is subject to the same outside factors, such as political events and outcomes, and has a range of political leanings.
Public opinion, an aggregate of the individual views, attitudes, and beliefs about a particular topic, expressed by a significant proportion of a community. Some scholars treat the aggregate as a synthesis of the views of all or a certain segment of society; others regard it as a collection of many.