What the media chooses to report and how they choose to report it can influence public opinion. For example, in a story about juvenile courts and court cases, author Kathleen Cullinan (2009) begins by writing, “Compared with the rest of the American judicial system, juvenile courts operate under water, beneath varying layers of secrecy. It is that way largely because it always has been. Or the story goes” (p. 4). Her words cleverly convey an opinion by which readers, many of whom are voters, may be influenced. This is just one small example among thousands; add to this coverage given to special interest groups and others who can capture the attention of news media and it is easy to see how public officials may be pressured to change law and public policy.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the article, “Time and News: The Media’s Limitations as an Instrument of Democracy.” Consider the extent to which the media can influence public opinion about politics.
- Review the article, “High-Conflict Television News and Public Opinion.” Think about how the media impacts public discourse of policies and laws.
- Review the article, “Media and Agenda Setting: Effects on the Public, Interest Group, Leaders, Policy Makers, and Policy.” Think about how journalists might affect the actions of policy makers.
- Review the course media “News Media—Law and Public Policy” with James O’Reilly. Reflect on how politicians use the media to support their political agenda.
- Reflect on the effects if the news media on law and public policy.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 4 an explanation of the effects of the news media on law and public policy. Be specific and use examples to support your explanation.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
Respond by Day 6 to at least one of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:
- Ask a probing question.
- Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
- Offer and support an opinion.
- Validate an idea with your own experience.
- Make a suggestion.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting.