people seem to love to “label” other people.
Often, we use labels to identify
people’s characteristics, including their dress or lifestyle or the way they behave in public or in private. Even here
at school, we hear such common labels as “jock, geek, nerd, or preppy” used by people to identify others who are not
like us. Often, political labels are used in our larger society to label and categorize people’s belief systems – to describe them
by their ideology.
The terms “left” and “right” are quite often used
by the media and political commentators to
describe points of view and the people who
hold those views.
NOTES FROM THE HIDDEN SLIDES WHILE SHOWING
THIS SLIDE, SPEAKING ABOUT THESE LATE-NIGHT
TALK SHOWS AND NEWS COMMENTARY AS IT INFLUENCES
influence of the mass media on creating or manipulating public opinion in the U.S. is reflected in these statistics –
and the fact that news, so-called
“infotainment” programming, and politically-oriented talk shows are quite ubiquitous in our society – they are virtually everywhere, and these stats do not include
the fastest growing segment of news,
online from the World Wide Web and the
Internet. Anymore, it’s almost
impossible to NOT be around the news,
whether it’s local, state, national or international…… it’s always there, it’s always available. Even more importantly, the media industry as a whole saw many smaller companies
being bought out or merged with large,
mega-corporations such as Viacom,
AOL/Time-Warner, and more – a trend that has resulted in fewer sources of news and practically NO independent
news sources. This obviously has a huge impact on the
creation of public opinion in America, and
certainly offers the danger of a greater degree
of the manipulation of the public’s opinion through the “management” of the news by fewer and fewer powerful individuals and corporations. Public officials at the national level often have staff members keep an eye on the output of
the mass media and report back to them
what the news outlets are saying, so as to
help keep tabs on the public’s opinion on a variety of issues.
television-watching alone has played a role in the making of public opinion in America – with the average American
watching about 30 hours of TV each week,
after a year’s time it amounts to a total
of 65 days of TV-watching. And many
viewers don’t often think about the
accuracy of news reporting, either.
This makes it increasingly
important for public officials to watch what’s happening on the news shows and the political talk shows, to get a feel for what is being “fed” to the public through the
mass media, and to gauge the public
reaction to that programming.
In modern times, what Aristotle called a
“polis” has developed into the state – an independent political unit.
Most often states are called “nation” or “country”
During your time studying government in this course, this use of the term “state”
should not be confused with the term as it applies to those sub-governments
within the United “States” of America.
In the early days of this nation, each of the original 13 states was
actually its own mini-nation, with all of the powers of independent
However, with the ratification
(legal acceptance) of the Constitution in 1787, the term “state” came to mean
a smaller part of the U.S.A. – but such states are now under the over-all sovereignty
of the national, or U.S. government, and are no longer entirely independent of
the rest of the nation.