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The Media Representation Of Public Opinion: British Television News Coverage Of The 2001 General Election
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Media, Culture & Society vol. 26 no. 1 (Jan. 2004)
The focus of most research on mass communications and public opinion has been to explore the extent of media influence. Our concern, here, is with another aspect of this relationship: specifically, the way in which public opinion is represented by the news media. The critical literature on opinion polling has implicitly understood opinion polls as a form of representation rather than as a transparent system of measurement, and, in so doing, has understood the opinion poll as an ideologically inflected construction (see, for example, Bourdieu, 1979; Herbst, 1993; Salmon and Glasser, 1995). This has led many in media studies simply to dismiss opinion surveys as merely the flawed instruments of an empiricist method. Our approach is rather different. Once we accept that opinion polls are a form of representation, it raises the important question of how that representation works ideologically: what kinds of public opinion are produced, and what aspects of public discourse are excluded? Our interest is therefore less in public opinion polls as a method, and more as a cultural form (Lewis, 2001).
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