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pg._175-207 - Politics Power and Authority pg 175-207...

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Politics, Power, and Authority pg. 175-207 Public opinion is very important. History shows one of the first thing new autocrats or dictators do is to control the media. They need to make sure they tell the people what to think. Free press is not an option to dictatorships; they need to censor all “dangerous info”. All definers of public opinion agree that governments cannot function without the consent of its public, this is why dictatorships that try to control the people, fail. Although most agreed that majority ruled. Some such as De Tocqueville suggested that “tyranny of the majority” could become an issue. During World War I CPI or Committee on Public Information was set up to increase propaganda in order to get all Americans behind the war effort. One definition of Public Opinion was “the opinion of the aggregate of individuals making up the public under discussion. It does not include all the opinions held by a set of individuals, but only those relevant to the issue or situation that defines them as a public.” – David Truman. We acquire our opinions about politics and everything else through a process that sociologists call socialization. We gain learn specific values and develop about democratic government, political institutions and processes, political parties, groups and individuals through the process of political socialization. 4 Groups that have an effect on the values a person has: Family – Families have the most immediate effect considering they start influencing you at infancy. When teens enter their rebellious stage they begin to stop believing what they parents are saying and want to find out for themselves. Parents also have an effect by which job a parent has; professionals are pro business and anti-union. School – School molds young minds. In elementary and middle school we are taught how great our country is and the pledge of allegiance, and to respect authority. College really separates students into sects. A resurgence of liberalism in colleges is leading analysts to wonder why? Education has a huge effect on the way people vote. Churches and Religion – Many people get their moral values from the church. Different denominations have a tendency to vote either way. Jews are liberal, Roman Catholics and white Protestants vote republican. This usually gives people their view on abortion and other key issues. Media – Primary groups are small groups of people that have frequent face-to-face contact in daily lives. Secondary groups are large and impersonal; some would include media in this group. Latch-key kids are children who come home to no parents and just stay there and watch TV. Media is constantly competing for ratings and this leads to more shows with sex and violence. This can’t be censored but networks have to show adult programs “late” nights.
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