January 6, 2012
- The voice of the public political sphere and the voice of civil society.
- Civil society is defined as those that is not the government but is also not government.
o Ordinary people (people in their non-economic capacities).
- For most of us, public opinion polls are simply what they are: public opinion.
o As such, public opinion is simply a snapshot of what the public thinks.
- Regardless of the political theory you tend to adopt, we believe a central element is that
there is open debate by our elected representatives. Democracy may be a rare thing in our
- Ideally, in a democracy, we vote for people to represent us. Ideally, they should not be
bound by the people that elected them. but for all people.
- Public opinion is a terrible source of policy for many reasons:
o It is very fickle it is, and how quickly it can change.
o Given the nature of the modern world, a lot of issues or opinion will be
uninformed. Instead, it will be based on a lack of awareness and details.
o Sampling is not an accurate way of surveying or obtaining data in terms of public
opinion and is not a good measure of the saliency of an issue.
o Questions may be very ambiguous in nature.
- American independence borrows heavily from John Locke: life, liberty and property.
- We make our own judgments based on our own reasoning.
o Our reasoning will always take into consideration of others and their well-being.
- Maximum personal liberties
o People generally prefer minimal government intervention and involvement.
January 9, 2012
Public opinion should be a source for legislation and should have an impact on legislation.
- Newspapers and magazines are important types of media.
- Television, film, Internet.
- Newspapers were originally neutral, short, but also numerous.
- A majority of the newspapers in the U.S. are indeed neutral. Newspapers were big and
had everything for the family, as well as a lot of advertising.
- Market niche:
o Some papers have different audiences.
o They present themselves as balanced.
- In 2009, congressional research service, issued a report on newspapers.
o In 1998, roughly 60% of adults would read a daily newspaper.
o By 2007, this number would fall to 48%.
o In 1971, only 3% of cities had competing newspapers.
o In 2008 alone, daily newspapers cut their newsrooms by 11%.
o Revenues declined 16% by 2008.
o Classified ads, however, have moved to specialized websites.
o In 2008, seven major newspapers filed for bankruptcy protection, including
o As recently as 1983, 60% of Americans watched network news. By 2008, this
number dropped to 30%.
Page 1 of 10 POLS 249.3
o News networks try to avoid conflict.
o Media concentration.
Many companies own news outlet and television companies.
Comcast owns NBC Universal at 49% stake.
Viacom owns MTV, etc once owned Blockbuster.
January 11, 2012
U.S. primaries for Republican party.
- March 20 is mid-point.
- April 24, 2012 is 75% point.
- Ron Paul is 77 years old and is libertarian.
- Colorado primary caucuses: February 7, 2012.
- February 28: Michigan.
- Super Tuesday is March 6, 2012.
- Maryland is April 3, 2012.
- June 5: California.
- fairness doctrine: required that reporting be balanced.
- From 1932-1992, papers have often substantially endorsed Republican candidates.
- 1964 was the sole exception.
- Many people focus on the illnesses that favour men over women, whites over blacks, etc.
- Whats the bias?
o Left-wingers sit on the issue of gun control and abortion, as well homosexuality,
same-sex marriage, less affirmative action, etc.
o In short, the media does have a bias, but mainly on their culture.
- Social welfare/security policies, such as healthcare the media accepts whatever the
public seems to accept.
- The liberal media favour a private sector solution with using private insurers as the
primary healthcare providers to solve any potential problems.
- The national media believes the constitution should be followed judge selections
should be based on competence instead of political affiliation.
January 13, 2012
The media tends to be very supportive of the U.S. president and their administrations regarding
claims about other countries.
- Only when things go bad do they do they start to not support the administration.
- The media has become too cozy with the government and they allow themselves to be
used by the government via leaks, which are often deliberate.
- They will often report on unattributed information. Because they rely on them so much
for scoops, it enhances their pay and reputation, and makes them feel good about
- On May 26, 2004, the New York Times apologized for its report on one-side reporting.
- Michael Ignatieff supported the Iraqi invasion.
Page 2 of 10POLS 249.3
- Miller was contacted by officials but downplayed information that she had specific
New Media and the Old Media
- New media: internet, social media, etc., cell phones, smartphones, etc
- There is no question that personal computer revolutionized campaigning in the United
States, particularly with the Republicans.
- Republicans introduced the personalized letter idea but Democrats got revenge in 2008
by making use of cell phones. Obama was the first candidate since the establishment of
campaign financing to not take public funding to help his campaign. This allowed him to
spend as much cash money as he wanted.
- Obama disappointed many of his appointments, as many of them were Bush-era
- New media has had an effect on fundraising, etc.
- It is now possible to arouse public outrage and scandalous behaviour at politicians,
exposing their hypocrisy or corruption. They played a big role into reporting what was
really happening in Iraq.
- Founded something called the Daily Cause.
- Back in 2004, then-Vermont governor made use of blogging in campaigning.