Lemmings Of The Media Essay

1608 words - 6 pages

The status of being a human being is characterized by the ability to seek and gain knowledge. As individual humans we are constantly learning new ideas and theories; better stated by one Robert E. Lee, "The education of a man is never completed until he dies." When we acquire new knowledge, and interpret it within our minds, we begin to develop our own ideals and our own opinions. When we begin to put together each individual's ideals and opinions together in relation to politics we arrive to the concept of public opinion. Public opinion is people's evaluations and understanding of politics in general and their views on specific political issues of the day. Being able to develop our own ideas and obtain our knowledge freely is a major part of what drives our society, and allows us to make educated decisions and take the right actions. There are several different theories that each explains as to how we have gained the knowledge of issues and policies pertaining to our government today which has helped us to formulate the ideas and opinions that we hold. Of these theories are: pluralist, democratic, and elitist. Each theory holds beliefs as to how public opinion is formed, and in what ways the government may manipulate the public and the media in order to sway opinions.

A firm believer of pluralist theory will tell you that the government is made up of several different groups or parties that are all fighting for the ideals that their particular group stands for. Sometimes one group will win in an election, sometimes another, but no one completely dominates the political "playing field." A believer of pluralist ideals would voice his/her opinion through the political party that they associate with. Through these political parties, public opinion is formed and through the parties sponsorships and support for candidates running for an office these parties can help put their opinions and ideas into real action. Public opinion for this particular theory is quite important because it makes up the foundation of what each political party believes in. Being able to voice their opinion and pushing for changes in their favor is the way that they will be able to make changes in our government. This structure of government is apparent as we observe the many different political parties vying for the ideals that they stand for. Although it is a bit inaccurate in its basis of belief because of what really happens in practice in relation to American Government. Shown later in the essay, there is an elite few that ultimately dominates, and always gets its way in today's government, thus invalidating the idea of pluralism.

In traditional democratic theory, the government is completely run for and by the people. Each individual's voice is heard (although to what extent varies) and we all have the right to shape the government as we best see fit to serve us. In this case, public opinion is the single most influential power in government, as it represents...

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