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Influences on the Government Public Opinion, Mass Media, Interest Groups.

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Presentation on theme: "Influences on the Government Public Opinion, Mass Media, Interest Groups."— Presentation transcript:

1 Influences on the Government Public Opinion, Mass Media, Interest Groups

2 Public Opinion The ideas and attitudes most people hold about a certain issue or person. Presidents rely on Public Opinion to get their positions passed by Congress. Congress is dependent on public opinion because their goal is re-election A popular president has more influence over Congress Public Opinion is very diverse

3 Sources of Public Opinion (Influences on your thoughts) Personal Background- age, gender, socio- economic status, religion, occupation, ethnicity Mass Media- by what medium (singular form of media) do you get your information- Mass appeals to large audience ▫Ex: internet

4 Sources of Public Opinion … Interest groups-a group of individuals who share a point of view and come together to promote their viewpoint ▫Work to influence public opinion and therefore policy

5 Features of Public Opinion Direction: Is the direction positive or negative ▫Abortion: Pro-Choice/ for abortion-Pro-Life/anti- Abortion Intensity: How strong are the opinion ▫Is this an issue that can cause you to vote for a specific candidate? Stability: how firmly to people hold their views ▫Ex: Civil Right: Most people have strong convictions regarding this issue

6 Measuring Public Opinion Politicians who make public policy and want to win reelection need to know how their peeps feel Public Opinion Polls are the major way to gauge how the public feels. ▫They are simply surveys that ask questions of randomly sampled people

7 Measuring Public Opinion/ Pollsters The opinion polls are conducted by pollsters Purpose is to measure feelings about an issue or candidate Those polled are decided randomly

8 Types of Polls Random Samples: Questions asked must be worded carefully-otherwise it can sway the person being polled Push Polls: Designed to sway the responses/disregarded by the polling community

9 Polling Pros and Cons Supporters: allows elected officials to keep in touch with their peeps Opposition to Polls: Elected officials become more concerned about pleasing the public rather than doing what is right and necessary

10 The Mass Media The nation’s media influences politics and government and lets officials know what needs to be addressed or placed on the agenda

11 Types of Media Print media: newspapers, magazines, books Electronic media; radio, television and internet In the United States most media outlets are privately run ▫This means more listeners or readers = more $$$$

12 The Impact of the Media Public Agenda: Of the gazillion issues government must deal with –the ones that receive the most time, money and effort make up the public agenda The media has great influence on setting the agenda ▫An issue that receives a lot of media publicity winds up getting a lot of government attention

13 Impact of the Media Continued… Coverage of Candidates: The amount of coverage a candidate receives impacts the success of their campaign and can make or break the election Media and Elected Officials: It is a love/hate relationship. It’s a symbiotic relationship-they need each other and are dependent on each other ▫Ex: Leaks, confessions, exposure

14 Impact of the Media Continued…. Watchdog role: They watch over government and are eager to break a story about government abuse of power, funds or trust ▫"The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties." --Thomas Jefferson: Media and National Security: A fine balance between our right to know and the government’s obligation to protect us

15 Media Safeguards Our republic requires the free flow of ideas to thrive Constitutional protections/first amendment Prior Restraint: means the media is protect from government censorship of material before it is published or printed Freedom with Limits: Cannot publish false that will harms someone’s reputation =Libel ▫Malice – or evil intent is not constitutionally protected

16 Media Safeguards The Media has a right to protect its sources Regulation of the Media; The FCC monitors the media—and all media outlets must comply with certain regulations or suffer penalties- Example: Shock Jock Howard Stern, Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction

17 Types of Interest Groups Interest groups are organizations that unite people to promote common ideas and hopefully influence the public agenda.

18 Types of Interest Groups Economic: ▫There are industry interest groups –like the Chamber of Commerce or the Tobacco Institute ▫Labor Interest groups want to help the working class or a group of professionals AMA, AFL-CIO, American Federation of teachers

19 Types of Interest Groups… Other Interest Groups: Ethnic groups, age groups, gender groups, religious groups Special Cause or Single Issue Interest groups: NRA, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, Public Interest Groups: support causes that affect the lives of Americans in general- they are non-partisan and impartial- goal is to educate the voters Ex: League of Women Voters

20 Interest Groups and Government Important part of the political process First goal is to influence public policy Support candidates during the elections PAC’s (political action committees) formed by interest groups to collect money from their members and funnel the money to political candidates that support their cause Influence policy by using the courts

21 Interest and Government … Lobbying Government: interest groups employ lobbyists to influence policy. A lobbyist is a person who contacts government officials on behalf of the interest group ▫Good lobbyists supply law makers with information about an issue—biased of course ▫Lobbyists also make sure that once the law is passed it is enforced correctly

22 Techniques of Interest Groups Employ a variety of techniques- direct mailings, ads, Propaganda: Different types ▫Bandwagon ▫Card Stacking ▫Name Calling ▫Glittering Generalities ▫Plain Folks Appeal

23 Regulating Interest Groups Limits to the amount of $ PAC’s can contribute Waiting period before former government officials can go work for an interest group Iron Triangle (congressional committees that make the laws, bureaucratic agency that enforces the laws and the interest groups that promote the laws) Critics: Interest groups have too much say in policy Proponents: Interest groups make government more responsive to the people

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